Thousands of felt roses at Hollywood Forever Cemetery honor COVID-19 victims

HOLLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Thousands of felt red roses are on display at Hollywood Forever Cemetery to remember those we've lost to COVID-19.

Thousands of felt red roses for victims of COVID-19. It's called the Rose River Memorial at Hollywood Forever Cemetery to remember those we've lost.

"Each rose is a devastation and then together it's a national devastation," says Marcos Lutyens, the artist behind the temporary installation, which is called Rose River Memorial. The display is a way for those who have lost someone to grieve during the pandemic.

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"What I wanted to do was make a project that involved the whole community, as many people in the nation as possible," Lutyens said.

The memorial is growing. As the pandemic claims more victims, Lutyens is planning for at least half a million roses in the next few months across the country.

"This pandemic, this virus, it's like an invisible entity. The idea of making these roses is each one is something you can touch and hold and feel and generate but also when you see all the roses together, you begin to realize the full scale of this thing," Lutyens said.

The temporary installation is on the Fairbanks Lawn and Reflecting Pool. Overlooking the area is the mausoleum, where film legends Douglas Fairbanks Senior and Junior are buried. on Tuesday, the display was also part of the national Memorial Ceremony for COVID victims.

For those who are volunteering to carefully place each rose, it is a grim reminder of the tragedy of this pandemic.

"Each one of these flowers is someone's loved one, somebody's husband, daughter, best friend. It's very touching. It's hard not to be emotional doing this," said Michelene Cherie, a volunteer.

The plan is to do other rose memorials like this one in cities across the country and to culminate with a National Day of Remembrance on March 1, 2022.

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