Belle Isle Park in Detroit turned into a temporary memorial for the city’s more than 1,500 residents who died during the coronavirus pandemic.
Hundreds of large portraits of people who’ve died from the COVID-19 line roadways in the park so their families and loved ones can mourn and celebrate them from the safety of their vehicles.
Detroit city mayor Mike Duggan declared Monday as “Detroit Memorial Day,” so the city could pay tribute to the victims, many of whom could not be given the funerals they would have wanted because of the restrictions to help control the spread of the virus.
“Today we get a chance to mourn together,” Duggan said before the memorial started. “We got through this as a community and we will continue to support each other as a community.” He was joined by other city leaders, as well as Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist.
Mayor Duggan said that the idea for a park memorial came from Cher Coner, whose mom died of sepsis in the spring. She shared her experience with him during a community zoom call.
“All these people that are going through all of this, not just me, that haven’t had a chance to have a funeral,” Coner said in the WXYZ report.
“And this is just terrible it’s like a nightmare.have visitation or funeral services when his father died in March.” He also added that his family wasn’t able to
“You don’t realize what an important part that is in the grieving process until you go through it,” Duggan said.
Belle Isle Park was closed on Monday, so family members could have a chance to go through. There were 15 funeral processions planned, with hearses that led the vehicles along the route.
The photos, which were provided by family members, showed the people who died in happier times and will be on display through Wednesday.
As of Tuesday, the state has recorded more than 113,000 cases and 6,767 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.