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KOBE Bell Ceremony Remembers Lives Lost to COVID-19

Seattle is joining in the national Memorial to Live Lost to COVID-19 Tuesday, Jan. 19. The Memorial features the lighting of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and the illumination of buildings and ringing of church bells in a national moment of unity and remembrance.

The program in Washington D.C. emphasizes the importance of looking back and remembering the lives we have lost to COVID-19 as we look forward to the hope of a new path and a brighter future. In Seattle, several facilities will be illuminated starting at 5:30 p.m. (local time) today. At 2:25 p.m., five bell ringers will sound the Kobe Bell at Seattle Center, a “friendship bell” given to Seattle by the City of Kobe for the 1962 World’s Fair. The Seattle memorial ceremony, in the Kobe Bell Courtyard to the north of International Fountain, will be broadcast live on the Seattle Center Facebook page ( The community is invited to participate virtually through the link.

The bell ringers include: President, Seattle-Kobe Sister City Association; Esther Lucera, Chief Executive Director, Seattle Indian Health Board; Dr. Ben Danielson, former Senior Medical Director at Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic in Seattle; Jennifer Sarriugarte, Infection Prevention and Mitigation Consultant, Seattle Center, and former Public Health worker; and Virginia Ramos, SeaMar Community Health Centers Infection Control Nurse and frontline worker. The bell will be rung a total of 40 times reflecting the nearly 4,000 lives lost in Washington State and the 400,000 lives lost in the United States. Each ring represents 1,000 lives lost in the state, or 10,000 lives nationally.

At 5:30 p.m. and through the evening of Jan. 19, several facilities in the downtown area will be illuminated in light amber, the color of a candle, to commemorate to toll of COVID-19 on American lives. These include the Washington State Convention Center, T-Mobile Park, Amazon Spheres, Climate Pledge Arena and Dreaming in Color, a tall light installation along the Kreielsheimer Promenade along the west side of Marion Oliver McCaw Hall and more.

The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris represents the beginning of a new national journey. However, in the midst of a pandemic — when so many Americans are grieving the loss of family, friends, and neighbors — it is important that we honor those who have died, reflect on what has been one of the more challenging periods in the nation’s history and renew our commitment to coming together to end the pandemic. The City of Seattle is heartened to have this opportunity to reflect and remember.

The community is encouraged to join in the commemoration with the ringing of bells at 2:30 p.m. and the lighting of candles and buildings at 5:30 p.m. (PST). For more information on Kobe Bell Memorial and other aspects of this remembrance, click here or call 206 684-7200.