WASHINGTON (WDVM) — The United States has reached another grim milestone in the fight against the Coronavirus. The country has now surpassed 1,000,000 COVID deaths.

“It’s not just a statistic I’ve seen on TV but it is actually something I’ve lived and experienced,” Tikeisha Harris, who lost two family members to COVID, said.

On Monday night, the bells at the National Cathedral tolled 1,000 times signifying 1,000,000 COVID deaths. People gathered on church grounds to honor family members lost to the virus. Many of them say people don’t truly understand the effects and more so the heartbreak of the virus until it touches them.

Harris says the hardest reality is accepting those loved ones are truly gone.

“Why do bad things happen to good people? And so I think when we experience these types of unexplained phenomena in the world, and then it touches you personally, it is a question to have to wrestle through,” Harris said.

Chris Duncan lost his mother to COVID in May of 2020. He’s been to a number of the bell ringings since she passed. He explained the pain of watching a loved one suffer from the virus and doesn’t wish it upon anyone else.

“That little cell is so devastating that it takes you away and 14 days or less and you just start drowning or suffocating in your lungs or whatever happens to you, that is different from any flu. It’s just hard to watch others suffer this way,” Duncan said.

While Duncan wishes he could have used his mother’s death as a warning of the events to come, he believes his efforts would have been in vain.

“Everyone has their own attitudes about it and they’re gonna do their own thing and this is just the true consequence of those attitudes rather than the true understanding about the value of human life,” Duncan said, sadly.