A Michigan nurse whose moving rendition of “Amazing Grace” spread widely on social media early in the COVID-19 pandemic sang the hymn for the country on Tuesday night.
Lori Key, 29, performed at a nationwide COVID-19 memorial in Washington, D.C., before President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. The memorial was part of the inauguration events and honored the 400,000 lives lost to the coronavirus across the country.
Key, a registered nurse who works in Detroit, said working as a COVID-19 nurse was heartbreaking.
“When I’m at work, I sing,” she said during the memorial. “It gives me strength during difficult times, and I believe it helps heal.”
At the memorial, Biden said, “To heal, we must remember. It’s hard sometimes to remember, but that’s how we heal. It’s important to do that as a nation. That’s why we’re here today.”
‘To heal, we must remember’:Biden leads national mourning of 400,000 Americans killed by COVID-19
On Monday, Key announced on Facebook she would be singing at the event.
“I am lost for words right now,” she wrote. “Can’t believe I’m here. What an adventure and dream. All glory to God!”
Before her performance Tuesday, she wrote a text message to a Free Press reporter that “from this performance I want people to rise above the pandemic and unite as a nation because we’re all in this together.”
People across the country heard Key’s voice last year when a video of her singing “Amazing Grace” to coworkers treating COVID-19 patients was posted online. It quickly spread widely on social media.
Key comes from a musical family and grew up singing in church. She thanked her supporters in a Facebook message.
“Thank you everyone for all the love, shares, encouraging comments and support,” she wrote Tuesday. “Pray for me while I’m up there! People who are close to me and know me, (know) I have bad nerves lol. God be with me.”
The Presidential Inaugural Committee hosted the COVID-19 memorial. It included a lighting around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.
Cities across the country were invited to ring church bells and illuminate buildings at 5:30 p.m. in a moment of unity and remembrance.
Follow Elisha Anderson on Twitter: @elishaanderson