Los Angeles COVID-19: City begins 3-day memorial for victims, those who served

People can visit a white flag installation on the Griffith Observatory's front lawn, commemorating the victims of the pandemic.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Across Los Angeles, special memorials will be held throughout this week to honor those who have served during the pandemic and remember the thousands of people in L.A. County who have died from COVID-19.

The city-wide memorial, which will span over three days, comes as another 22 deaths were reported on Wednesday, raising the overall death toll to 26,923.

"It's not enough for us to simply share those numbers. We need to grieve together, we need to come together, and we need to embrace one another. That's what Strength and Love, the City of L.A.'s COVID-19 Memorial is all about," Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a news conference.

Each day of the memorial will focus on a specific action.

Thursday's memorial theme is Honor. People are encouraged to cheer and clap at 8 p.m. for those who held the city together during the pandemic, including first responders, essential workers, small business owners and caregivers.

Friday is meant to remember those lost to the pandemic. The city is encouraging residents to light a candle in their window at 8 p.m. to pay homage to their memory.

The memorial will culminate on Saturday with a theme to Mobilize. People are asked to wave a flashlight or phone light outside at 8 p.m. to light up L.A., representing the city working to be more kind, united and resilient than before.

City Hall, SoFi Stadium and the Grand Park Fountain, along with other iconic Los Angeles buildings, will be lit up blue to honor the pandemic's victims during the memorial.

People can visit Griffith Park to see a white flag installation on the Griffith Observatory's front lawn, commemorating the people who died due to the pandemic. Those who want to share their own pandemic experience can contribute to the Los Angeles COVID-19 community archive online. The archive is accepting digital submissions of photographs, letters, emails, journal and diary entries, blog and social media posts, notices and signs, as well as creative art like drawings, paintings and poetry.

One bicyclist who passed by the installation Thursday morning said the sheer number of white flags on the lawn was surreal.

"It's unbelievable. I can't believe it. I'm just looking at it and I'm getting goosebumps from it."

"This has been such a difficult chapter for us, such a traumatic chapter for us," Garcetti said. "We have gone through more pain and suffering than we knew we had. But we also found more resilience and strength than we thought we could ever summon."

Those who participate in the memorial can post a photo or video on social media with the hashtag #StrengthandLoveLA.

Garcetti is urging anyone over the age of 18 to get a booster shot ahead of a possible winter suge as the temperatures drop and people spend more time indoors.

He noted the city's 7-day positivity rate is more than double what it was a couple weeks ago and called it a worrying trend.

"As we head to the holidays, this is a good time to look at your family and friends - to protect them. To extend your coverage, whether it's a first or a second shot or a booster shot," he said. "These are shields to help you and your loved ones stay safe and stay healthy."

City News Service contributed to this report.
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