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Remembering some of the 1 million dead from COVID

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Today President Biden noted a truly awful number.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Today we mark a tragic milestone here in the United States - 1 million COVID deaths, 1 million empty chairs around the family dinner table, each irreplaceable, irreplaceable losses.

ADRIAN FLORIDO, HOST:

It is near impossible to reconcile such a staggering count with the idea that each loss was irreplaceable to someone. So throughout the pandemic, we've tried to remember just a few of those who died in the voices of those who loved them.

MARY KIM: I think he developed a personality of laughter and fun to try to avoid the situation that he didn't speak really good English. And then it just - he just developed into that man. You know, I am happy, and you're going to be happy, and we're going to be friends.

MELINDA CHUM: The most amazing woman in the world, you know, a woman with such great substance.

SUSAN FELDMAN: We were best friends, but we weren't. We were more than that. You know, she wasn't - he was my soul mate, or I was his soul mate, but we weren't. I mean, it was always deeper than that. And I hate all of those commonplace terms that people use. But we somehow had this instant connection that was lifelong.

SUHASH PATEL: If you asked him for something, he would give you that and more, right? And whether that was his last $5 or if it's the shirt off his back.

RONALD HARDY: She will always have a place in my heart. And if I had to search all over again, if I had to choose a woman to be my bride again, I would search for her.

CHANG: That was Mary Kim remembering her husband, Aaron, Melinda Chum talking about her mother, Hak Phlong, Susan Feldman on her husband, Clifford, Suhash Patel remembering his father, Ramesh Chandra, and Ronald Hardy reflecting on his wife, Robbin - just five of the 1 million people in the U.S. who have died of COVID-19. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.