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Watch: Detroit honors COVID-19 victims with memorial on Belle Isle

Posted at 4:41 AM, Aug 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-01 15:59:32-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Detroit will be hosting 15 different funeral processions to honor the more than 1,000 people who have died from COVID-19 in the city on Monday.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan spoke at the event.

"We all know passionate, dedicated people who lost their battle to COVID-19. We owe it to all of them to build a safer, and stronger, and smarter Michigan," Whitmer said talking about her friends who had died.

"This virus has devastated families and communities across Michigan, but especially here in Detroit. The virus exposed deep inequities," she added.

The celebration of life will have 15 funeral processions driving a dedicated route on Belle Isle. It's the first city-wide memorial to honor COVID-19 pandemic victims in the country.

Residents and businesses across Detroit were encouraged to ring bells at 8:45 a.m. Monday to show solidarity for those grieving.

“Members of this community are grieving, it is important and necessary to provide an opportunity for families to celebrate those lost to this terrible disease and begin to heal,” Duggan. “We are taking this time to reflect on what has been a very hard time for so many Detroiters and commemorate the lives of our neighbors who are no longer with us.”

“As we remember and honor all of those we have lost to this virus, we must not forget that COVID-19 is still very present in our state,” Whitmer added. “Each life lost was a person who had a story: plans, dreams, and more life to live. We must all work together to slow the spread of this virus and prevent more devastation in our communities. We owe it to our families, our neighbors, the frontline workers, and to our fellow Michiganders to continue taking this virus seriously.”

There are nearly 900 billboard-sized photos of loved ones from the city, and represent a majority of the 1,500 people who died in Detroit between March and Aug. 18.

The memorial will be open to the public on Tuesday and Wednesday Sept 1. and Sept. 2, the public is encouraged not to touch the photos but can drive through Belle Isle.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Visit our The Rebound Detroit, a place where we are working to help people impacted financially from the coronavirus. We have all the information on everything available to help you through this crisis and how to access it.