WALL TOWNSHIP — A candle lighting to commemorate the nation’s COVID-19 death toll reaching one million was held Monday at the Rami’s Heart COVID-19 memorial at the Allaire Community Farm.
Rami’s Heart, which Rima Samman and her partner, Travis Whitaker, created in January 2021, became the first COVID memorial in the country that accepts the names of anyone who died in the United States.
Ms. Samman’s brother Rami died at the age of 40 on May 10 of 2020 due to COVID; the memorial is named after him.
“When Rami passed away, we were only at 80,000 deaths. Tomorrow, May 10, marks the second year anniversary of my brother’s death. It’s hard to comprehend how our nation got here; we have failed every one of these people, a million Americans,” said Ms. Samman.
To put the one million mark in perspective, Ms. Samman and Mr. Whitaker addressed everyone before the ceremony.
“Tonight was about taking a moment to not only recognize the tragedy of our nation losing a million lives to COVID-19 but to also recognize that these people were more than a number. Many not just to their families but to our nation as well. So many war veterans, police officers, firefighters, first responders, doctors, nurses and essential workers are represented. We owe it to them to remember. They have served our country,” said Ms. Samman.
Visitors took the opportunity to light a candle under their lost loved ones’ memorial and reflect on the rough journey since their deaths.
Rami’s Heart hopes they can continue to provide the families with a chance to remember their loved ones and share with others who understand what they are going through.
“We want families to know we acknowledge their loss and pain and as we hit this tragic milestone in our nation. It’s only right we take a night to acknowledge their loved one who’s no longer with us due to this pandemic,” said Mr. Whitaker.
This is an excerpt of the print article. For more on this story, read The Coast Star—on newsstands Thursday or online in our e-Edition.
Subscribe today! If you're not already an annual subscriber to The Coast Star, get your subscription today! For just $34 per year, you will receive local mail delivery weekly, with pages and pages of local news and online access to our e-edition on Starnewsgroup.com.