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A World Remembers: Memorials honour COVID-19′s 5 million dead

White flags, a grove of trees opposite a hospital, a memorial quilt, ribbons tied to fences and red hearts painted on a wall—from Italy to Peru, memorials have cropped as the world nears 5 million COVID-19 deaths

October 30, 2021 / 06:11 PM IST
As the world nears the milestone of 5 million COVID-19 deaths, memorials large and small, ephemeral and epic, have cropped up around the United States. Some have been drawn from artist’s ideas or civic group proposals, but others are spontaneous displays of grief and frustration. Everywhere, the task of creating collective memorials is fraught, with the pandemic far from vanquished and new dead still being mourned. Memorial flags, hearts, ribbons: These simple objects have stood in for virus victims, representing lost lives in eye-catching memorials from London to Washington D.C., and Brazil to South Africa. (Image: AP)
As the world nears the milestone of five million COVID-19 deaths, memorials large and small, ephemeral and epic, have cropped up. Some have been drawn from artists' ideas or civic group proposals but others are spontaneous displays of grief and frustration. Everywhere, the task of creating collective memorials is fraught, with the pandemic far from vanquished and new dead still being mourned. Memorial flags, hearts, ribbons: these simple objects have stood in for virus victims, representing lost lives in eye-catching memorials from London to Washington DC, and Brazil to South Africa. (Image: AP)
FILE - In this Sept. 21, 2021, file photo, visitors sit among white flags that are part of artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg's "In America: Remember," a temporary art installation to commemorate Americans who have died of COVID-19, on the National Mall in Washington. Firstenberg was struck by how strangers connected in their grief at the installation, which ended October 3. (Image: AP)
The collective impact of white flags covering 20 acres on the National Mall in the US capital was literally breathtaking, representing the more than 740,000 Americans killed by COVID-19, the highest official national death toll in the world. In this September 21, 2021, file photo, visitors sit among white flags that are part of artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg's "In America: Remember," a temporary art installation to commemorate Americans who have died of COVID-19, on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Firstenberg was struck by how strangers connected in their grief at the installation, which ended October 3. (Image: AP)
painted by bereaved loved ones on a wall along the River Thames. Walking the memorial’s length without pausing to read names and inscriptions takes a full nine minutes. The hearts represent the over 140,000 coronavirus deaths in Britain, Europe’s second-highest toll after Russia; like elsewhere in the world, the actual number is estimated to be much higher:160,000. Volunteers work on the COVID-19 memorial wall in Westminster in London, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. Bereaved Families for Justice have been re-painting the faded hearts on the tribute and adding inscriptions for people who can not get to the wall. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
A memorial wall in London similarly conveys the scale of loss, with pink and red hearts painted by bereaved loved ones on a wall along the River Thames. Walking the memorial’s length without pausing to read names and inscriptions takes a full nine minutes. The hearts represent the over 140,000 coronavirus deaths in Britain, Europe’s second-highest toll after Russia. Like elsewhere in the world, the actual number is estimated to be much higher: 160,000. Here, volunteers work on the COVID-19 memorial wall in Westminster in London, October 15, 2021. (Image: AP)
The Italian city that suffered the brunt of COVID-19’s first deadly wave is dedicating a vivid memorial to the pandemic dead: A grove of trees, creating oxygen in a park opposite the hospital where so many died, unable to breathe. Bergamo, in northern Italy, is among the many communities around the globe dedicating memorials to commemorate lives lost in a pandemic that is nearing the terrible threshold of 5 million confirmed dead. A woman walks with her dog through the Wood of Memory, created in remembrance of those who have died of COVID-19, at the Parco della Trucca, in Bergamo, Italy, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
The Italian city that suffered the brunt of COVID-19’s first deadly wave is dedicating a vivid memorial to the pandemic dead: a grove of trees, creating oxygen in a park opposite the hospital where so many died, unable to breathe. Bergamo, in northern Italy, is among the many communities around the globe dedicating memorials to commemorate lives lost in a pandemic that is nearing the terrible threshold of five million confirmed dead. Here, a woman walks with her dog through the Wood of Memory, created in remembrance of those who have died of COVID-19, at the Parco della Trucca, in Bergamo on October 26, 2021. (Image: AP)
Rocks with the names of victims of COVID-19 cover the ground at a monument outside the government house in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. (Image: AP)
Rocks with the names of victims of COVID-19 cover the ground at a monument outside the government house in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Monday, October 18, 2021. (Image: AP)
FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2021, file photo, Fernanda Natasha Bravo Cruz, center, who lost her father to COVID-19 cries supported by her mother, Noemia Bravo Cruz, second right, and by friends Cleo Manhas, left, and Clara Marcia, right, during a protest with flags representing coronavirus victims in Brazil and against the government's health policies outside Congress in Brasilia, Brazil. Activists and families placed 600 flags, each with a person's name, to represent the 600,000 death toll, announced the previous day. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
In this October 15, 2021, photo, Fernanda Natasha Bravo Cruz, centre, who lost her father to COVID-19 cries supported by her mother, Noemia Bravo Cruz, second right, and by friends Cleo Manhas, left, and Clara Marcia, right, during a protest with flags representing coronavirus victims in Brazil and against the government's health policies outside Congress in Brasilia. Activists and families placed 600 flags, each with a person's name, to represent the 600,000 death toll, announced the previous day. (Image: AP)
A Muslim woman uses her phone as she walks by names of health care workers who died of COVID-19 engraved on Pandemic Heroes Monument, in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia, Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. The monument will be inaugurated on Nov. 10, which marks National Heroes day in Indonesia. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
A Muslim woman uses her phone as she walks by the names of the healthcare workers who died of COVID-19 engraved on Pandemic Heroes Monument, in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia, Tuesday, October 12, 2021. The monument will be inaugurated on November 10, which marks National Heroes day in Indonesia. (Image: AP)
FILE - In this Oct. 22, 2021, file photo, portraits of doctors who died from COVID-19 are displayed in Lima, Peru. (Image: AP)
In this October 22, 2021, file photo, portraits of doctors who died from COVID-19 are displayed in Lima, Peru. (Image: AP)
In Russia’s second-largest city, St. Petersburg, a bronze statue called “Sad Angel” was placed in March outside a medical school to honor the dozens of doctors and medical workers who died of COVID-19. The sculpture of an angel with his shoulders slumped and head hanging disconsolately is especially poignant because its creator, Roman Shustrov, himself died of the virus in May 2020. Galina Artyomenko, a local journalist and influential behind the monument, looks at 'Sad Angel', a memorial for St. Petersburg's medical workers who died of coronavirus in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
In Russia’s second-largest city, St Petersburg, a bronze statue called “Sad Angel” was placed in March outside a medical school to honour the dozens of doctors and medical workers who died of COVID-19. The sculpture of an angel with his shoulders slumped and head hanging disconsolately is especially poignant because its creator, Roman Shustrov, himself died of the virus in May 2020. Galina Artyomenko, a local journalist and influencer behind the monument, looks at 'Sad Angel' on  October 26, 2021. (Image: AP)
People visit artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg's "In America: Remember," a temporary art installation made up of white flags to commemorate Americans who have died of COVID-19, on the National Mall in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
People visit artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg's "In America: Remember," a temporary art installation made up of white flags to commemorate Americans who have died of COVID-19, on the National Mall in Washington on September 22. (Image: AP)
A person reaches out to touch a panel of the COVID Memorial Quilt, part of a project by Madeleine Fugate to honor and remember all those lost to COVID-19, displayed at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021. Fugate's memorial quilt started out in May 2020 as a seventh grade class project. Inspired by the AIDS Memorial Quilt, which her mother worked on in the 1980s, the then-13-year-old encouraged families in her native Los Angeles to send her fabric squares representing their lost loved ones that she'd stitch together. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
A person reaches out to touch a panel of the COVID Memorial Quilt, part of a project by Madeleine Fugate to honour and remember all those lost to COVID-19, displayed at the California Science Center in Los Angeles on October 19, 2021. Fugate's memorial quilt started out in May 2020 as a seventh-grade class project. Inspired by the AIDS Memorial Quilt, which her mother worked on in the 1980s, the then-13-year-old encouraged families in her native Los Angeles to send her fabric squares representing their lost loved ones that she'd stitch together. (Image: AP)
blue and white ribbons are tied to a fence at the St. James Presbyterian Church in Bedford Gardens, east of Johannesburg, to remember the country’s 89,000 dead: each blue ribbon counting for 10 lives, white for one. A mother and child look at ribbons tied to the perimeter fencing of the St. James Presbyterian Church in Johannesburg, Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. Each ribbon represents the more than 88,900 people who have died from the virus in the country. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)
Blue and white ribbons are tied to a fence at the St. James Presbyterian Church in Bedford Gardens, east of Johannesburg, to remember the country’s 89,000 dead: each blue ribbon counting for 10 lives, white for one. Here, a mother and child look at ribbons tied to the perimeter fencing of the St. James Presbyterian Church in Johannesburg, Sunday, October 24, 2021. (Image: AP)
Mike Baronick reacts after seeing the name of his wife, who died from COVID-19, written on a rock during his first visit to the Rami's Heart COVID-19 Memorial in Wall Township, N.J., Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. The memorial, which started out on a Jersey shore beach made of shells and rocks, has found a permanent home at Allaire Community Farm. Started by Rima Samman and named after her brother Rami, who was killed by the coronavirus, it has grown to more than 4,000 victims' names, with dozens of new names added every week. (Image: AP)
Mike Baronick reacts after seeing the name of his wife, who died from COVID-19, written on a rock during his first visit to the Rami's Heart COVID-19 Memorial in Wall Township, NJ, on October 27, 2021. The memorial, which started out on a Jersey shore beach made of shells and rocks, has found a permanent home at Allaire Community Farm. Started by Rima Samman and named after her brother Rami, who was killed by the coronavirus, it has grown to more than 4,000 victims' names, with dozens of new names added every week. (Image: AP)
A Brazilian flag hangs on a clothesline on Copacabana beach amid white scarves that represent those who have died of COVID-19 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. The action was organized by the NGO "Rio de Paz" to protest the government's handling of the pandemic as the country nears a total of 600,000 COVID-19 related deaths. (AP Photo/Bruna Prado)
A Brazilian flag hangs on a clothesline on Copacabana beach amid white scarves that represent those who have died of COVID-19 in Rio de Janeiro on October 8, 2021. The action was organised by the NGO "Rio de Paz" to protest the government's handling of the pandemic as the country nears a total of 600,000 COVID-19 related deaths. (Image: AP)
Associated Press
first published: Oct 30, 2021 06:11 pm

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