SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The city of Savannah, houses of worship, businesses and individuals joined in a national memorial for the lives lost to COVID-19 on Tuesday.
“The last year has been a difficult one around our country and here locally,” said Mayor Van Johnson. “Join us in remembering and honoring the lives of our family, friends and neighbors that have been lost while looking forward hopefully to a future free of this devastating virus.”
The City Hall bells will ring once for every 10 deaths in Chatham County starting at 5:30 p.m., and the building will be illuminated in red. Anyone wishing to participate is invited to ring bells, illuminate homes or businesses, hold a socially distant candlelight vigil, and document their remembrance on social media using #SavannahRemembers and #SavannahStrong.
Savannah’s memorial will coincide with ceremonies in Washington, D.C., that will include a lighting ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.
To date, more than 10,000 Georgians, including more than 240 Chatham County residents, have died from COVID-19.
The city is asking businesses, houses of worship, and citizens to ring bells, illuminate their homes or businesses, or hold a socially distant candlelight vigil to commemorate those who lost their lives to COVID-19 in Chatham County.
“So we do this not only in memory of the lives that were lost in this war against COVID-19, but we also do this in support of the families that remain. The families that still grieve. The families that still mourn. This is the city of Savannah’s collective hub and we hope everyone will find someway to participate,” said Mayor Johnson. “Take those with 264 people and multiply that by their mothers, their fathers, their sons, their daughters, sisters and brothers, friends who cared about them. The impact touches every part of our community.”
Savannah City Hall and houses of worship like Mickve Israel put the color red on display to remind all of us our fight against the virus isn’t over yet.
“We come together in unity praying that we’ll all be able to overcome it and hopefully will be able to. But not only that we have to be able to work together to make sure everyone has the injections, that they’re available and we learn how to wear masks. We have to do it all of these different things,” said Rabbi Robert Haas.
Mayor Johnson says this ceremony was also used to comfort those who have lost family and friends and haven’t been able to grieve them.
He’s adamant that as the number of cases rise, we must continue taking precautions, standing by our frontline workers and making sure people are vaccinated.
“We have to deal with the here and now and the here and now is to get those shots into people’s arms. People should not be scared or worried because our numbers are going up and yet they are not able to get a vaccine. If we have to answer the phones, the city of Savannah is willing to help. If we have to take paperwork, the city of Savannah is willing to help. If we have to open up facilities both downtown and across the city, we are willing to help,” said Mayor Johnson.
Mayor Johnson announced Savannah’s participation in next week’s national memorial during his weekly news conference Tuesday morning. Rewatch it below: