Detroit to hold Aug. 31 memorial day for COVID-19 victims

FILE - This Dec. 5, 2019, photo shows the Detroit skyline. Detroit Charter Commission Vice Chair Nicole Small said the city, with one of the nations largest African American-majorities, has been hit particularly hard by foreclosures since the height of the mortgage crisis in 2008. Small said homeowners need relief beyond whats being offered in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File) (Carlos Osorio, Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

DETROIT – The city of Detroit announced a memorial day to honor more than 1,400 residents who died from COVID-19 and invited families to share photos that will be enlarged and displayed at Belle Isle State Park.

The photos will be staked along the route of a memorial drive scheduled for Aug. 31, said Rochelle Riley, the city's director of arts and culture.

“This is a very special thing for those of us who have lost people,” Riley said Wednesday. “We want to make sure we take a chance to take one last look at them.”

Every person, church and community group in southeastern Michigan will be invited to ring bells for 15 minutes at 8:45 a.m., she said.

Other smaller events are also planned across the city on Aug. 30. An Aug. 31 fireworks show to honor first responders, hospital workers and others on the front line of the coronavirus fight was announced weeks ago.

“The families of those 1,400 victims couldn't have receptions at funeral homes. They couldn't have family hour and were very limited (in) what they could do at the cemetery,” Mayor Mike Duggan said.

“We have said from the beginning that we are going to do something that's appropriate to acknowledge those we lost and also to acknowledge all the first responders who put their lives on the line, day in and day out," he said.

Detroit residents so far make up roughly 25% of Michigan's 6,000 COVID-19 deaths.


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a way to get photos to the city will be disclosed next week.