Families remember loved ones on ‘Victims of COVID-19 Remembrance Day’
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - On Monday, the Commonwealth remembered the more than 19,000 Virginians who died from COVID-19 in the last two years.
A bell at Virginia Union University was rung 19 times as state, local and community leaders gathered for a ceremony.
While much of Virginia now has the mindset of moving forward, many families are still grieving the loss of their loved ones from COVID-19.
“His birthday was September the 3rd, and 20 days later, he was gone with the virus,” said Louise Allen.
Despite Monday being COVID-19 Remembrance Day across the Commonwealth, there is not a moment that goes by where Allen does not think of her baby boy.
“This is a heartache right here, seven days a week,” she said.
It is through Allen’s faith and support that she can try to move forward. At Virginia Union University, she was surrounded by state and community members remembering those who died from COVID-19 since 2020.
“I would hope that they would get some level of comfort in knowing that things stop for just a moment to remember these individuals that were lost as a result of it,” said Delegate Delores McQuinn (D – Richmond).
“I feel for them just as I feel for myself,” Allen said.
During the 2021 Regular Session of the General Assembly, McQuinn’s HJR 605 was passed by both chambers designating March 14, 2021, and every year after as “Victims of COVID-19 Remembrance Day” in Virginia.
In 2021, Mayor Levar Stoney announced March 12 would be proclaimed as “COVID-19 Day of Remembrance” in the city of Richmond.
“My hope is as we move forward, that we use the knowledge, the technology, the expertise that we’ve gained from this, to build upon what we’ve learned, what we experienced, to create more resilience in our community,” Stoney said on Monday.
However, the group also said Virginians need to acknowledge those who are still dealing with the disease.
“Two years later, my husband has never recovered from this disease, from what happened to him,” McQuinn said.
“We need to support those who were left behind and isolated due to increased health risks,” said Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn (D – Fairfax).
However, the pandemic has also impacted folks in other ways - financially and even mentally. Leaders said support is key and goes beyond this day of remembrance.
“We can’t choose one day on the calendar and say this is the day we’re going to be together; this is where we’re going to be united,” Stoney said. “It shouldn’t take so much death and destruction for us to love our fellow brother, fellow sister.”
“At this period in our history, perhaps more significantly than any other period in our history, we must be our brothers and sisters’ keepers,” said Chickahominy Tribe administrator Chief Stephen Adkins.
While the future is unknown when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, Allen hopes changes are ahead.
“I just hope they keep working on a cure for the virus,” she said. “I don’t feel like for now, it’s all done, but I think we have put a dent in it.”
According to Stoney, since March 2020, in the city of Richmond, more than 44,000 have been infected with COVID-19; 476 people have died.
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