27 MAY 2020





Covid-19: A Memorial



This Monday we observed Memorial Day. Memorial Day has taken on different meanings over its storied history. Here's some history, for those who like that: Memorial Day started in the years directly after the Civil War. There is no one consensus on when the first observance was, but the one thing that we know is that the day was originally called Decoration Day. It was on this day that people from the community would go to the local cemetery and decorate the graves of those who died during the Civil War. For some people, they also wear a red poppy as a reminder of those who died in battle. A tradition in recent years in many communities has been to have the Boy Scout troops place flags at the graves of veterans. It is important to note that this day differs from Veterans Day. Memorial Day is specifically for those who died in war. On the other side of this special day, there are many now who use this day to remember those loved ones who have gone on before them. The day has become a true memorial for all who we have loved and lost. It is on a day like this that we lament the loss we have experienced.


Lament

verb:
to feel, show, or express grief, sorrow, or regret. 
to mourn deeply

noun:
a crying out in grief: wailing


Today, I lament the 100,000 people we have lost due to Covid-19. The pain that I experience witnessing the numbers rise is only compounded when I remind myself that each one of those numbers is a person and behind that person is a family who loves them. My pain pails in comparison with the families who never got the chance to say goodbye to their beloved.


I remember the pain that I felt deep inside on 9/11, and I am overwhelmed when I recognize that we have lost 33 times the amount of people to this terrible disease. I mourn this loss. This is the loss of life, of love, of potential unreached. These people were family, friends, neighbors, churchgoers, and a part of our human family that we will never get back.


We must not jump past this moment and move on with our lives. This is this generation's Pearl Harbor, a moment in history that will define the trajectory of our lives for the foreseeable future. We must mourn this loss. We must never forget the people who died. They were not just numbers on a sheet a paper. Their numbers are not a badge of honor for any of us, that the death toll was not higher. We must lament this moment in history and help one another bear the burden of our heartache.


We observe Memorial Day so we do not forget our beloved. Let us never forget those who have died and those who will die from Covid-19. This past week, the New York Times presented us with a moving tribute in the form of a full front page with the names of 1,000 people who have died from Covid-19. Though this is only 1 percent of all who have died, it helped me to put names with the numbers that are so easily forgotten. Let it be a memorial for those who have died and a reminder to us who live of what we have lost.


Take the time to look over the cover from The New York Times. I have linked it here.