The ceremony, hosted by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, featured 400 lights turned on around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.
"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," Mr. Biden said in brief remarks, before taking a moment of silence before the array of lights set up alongside the pool.
Mr. Biden's appearance at the Lincoln Memorial came the day before he is set to be inaugurated at the U.S. Capitol.
The National Mall is currently closed to visitors due to security concerns surrounding the inauguration, and instead features thousands of flags representing Americans who cannot attend the inauguration in person due to the pandemic.
Harris delivered brief remarks at the event before introducing Laurie Key, a Detroit nurse who has served COVID-19 patients, who sang the hymn "Amazing Grace" at the ceremony.
"Tonight, we grieve and begin healing together. Though we may be physically separated, we the American people are united in spirit," Harris said.