Delaware County joined a national memorial ceremony of remembrance Tuesday evening to honor all those who have lost their lives to COVID-19.
As President-Elect Joe Biden led a luminary ceremony at the reflecting pool in Washington, D.C., Delaware County officials gathered at the courthouse in Media to light their own luminaries to the 1,062 residents who have died.
“Each luminary represents a precious life lost. We mourn the loss of each member of our community and we remember them here tonight,” said Delaware County Council Chairman Brian Zidek.
He noted that because of public health concerns and travel restrictions, many families and friends did not have an opportunity to say goodbye.
Normal rituals of funerals, life celebrations, wakes and Shiva’s have been cancelled or delayed because of the pandemic.
“This ceremony serves as a time to remember those we have lost,” he said.
At 5:15 p.m., residents around the county were invited to join the ceremony virtually via the county’s website. Municipalities were invited to light up government buildings. Churches were invited to ring bells.
During a moment of silence at 5:30 p.m. individuals were invited to light a candle.
“We hope this memorial will serve as a collective healing for our community,” Zidek said, and added, “we vow to unite as a community and to do everything we can to end this deadly pandemic.”
Zidek also referenced the suffering experienced by those on the front lines—health care workers, nursing home staff, EMS workers and medical examiners.
“The magnitude of what they experienced is something most of us cannot fully begin to understand,” he said.
Delaware County Medical Examiner Dr. Frederick Hellman talked about grief and feelings of guilt that many are experiencing in the pandemic, but added, “know that to grieve is to be alive, that to experience loss is to know that you loved and that we are collectively as one in community as we struggle through the horrifying toll wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.”
In addition to Tuesday night’s ceremony, the county has a public memorial page on its website, www.delcopa.gov, offering tributes and photos of Delaware County loved ones who have passed away from COVID-19. Family members who would like to contribute to the page can visit the site and find more information by clicking on “memorial.”
The county is also planning a memorial at Rose Tree Park to pay tribute to Delaware County residents who have died from COVID-19 once it is safe for everyone to gather publicly.