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Mayor Stoney proclaims March 12 as ‘COVID-19 Day of Remembrance’ in Richmond

Updated: Mar. 12, 2021 at 7:13 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Mayor Levar Stoney announced March 12 will be proclaimed as “COVID-19 Day of Remembrance” in Richmond.

The day of reflection kicked off at noon as the bells of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church rang out across the city 224 times. It is also the number of men and women in the city of Richmond who died from COVID-19 in the last year.

“[He was] 69... he had a lot of life left,” said Colin Proctor, who lost his father to COVID-19.

Frank Proctor died June 3, 2020, from the coronavirus. On Friday, his family watched on Facebook live as his life, and the lives of many others were honored for 37 straight minutes.

HAPPENING AT NOON: The City of Richmond will kick off COVID-19 Day of Remembrance with the bell at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church ringing 224 times in memory of the men and women lost to the coronavirus across the city. Karina Bolster is there with more >> https://bit.ly/3exipC5

Posted by NBC12 on Friday, March 12, 2021

“To see the people take the time, remember, recognize these people and care and do these things in their honor really touches my heart,” Colin said.

In between each toll was 10 seconds of silence.

“So today let us take the time to remember, to understand that the time between the tolling of the bells is the silence that a family must endure,” Stoney said.

“I think about my dad every single day, whether a bell is ringing or not,” Colin said.

On this proclaimed Day of Remembrance, Stoney held a small ceremony recognizing the impacts of this pandemic.

“We all know someone,” he said. “We all have lost something.”

A friend, loved one, and perhaps a staple in the community.

“Connie Glass was an educator for many years in Richmond Public Schools,” said John Marshall High School principal Monica Murray. “She was a Girl Scout leader, a pillar in our church. She was our mom and my best friend. I thank you again for this opportunity to celebrate her and say her name.”

Glass was 73 when she died on Oct. 13, 2020; a day before her 74th birthday and 47th wedding anniversary.

“She was a fighter and she continued to fight through the three weeks she suffered,” Murray said.

Glass and the other 223 names will not be forgotten. As a reminder of those men and women, two oak trees were planted near Powhatan Community Center overlooking the city.

“Symbols of the roots they had in our community and of the rebirth, we must embrace,” Stoney said.

The focus is now on never forgetting but moving forward.

“We must come together, we must work together,” Stoney said. “Look out for each other and protect each other. Our hearts must beat as one.”

Meanwhile, the upper levels of Richmond City Hall illuminated at sunset Friday in “heartbeat” red as a “solemn and striking reminder of the impact of COVID-19 on the city.”

“This pandemic has adversely impacted every single person in our city,” Stoney said. “Richmonders have lost jobs, homes and the simple peace and security of being able to live their lives without the fear of becoming deathly ill. But most significantly, many of us have lost our friends, co-workers, family members and loved ones – our fellow Richmonders – who cannot be replaced.

The tribute at Richmond City Hall will continue through the weekend.

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