‘Not just a statistic’: Westchester unveils 'Ribbons of Remembrance' memorial to honor COVID-19 victims

Maya Rajamani
May 06, 2020 - 4:05 pm

    NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Westchester County Executive George Latimer on Wednesday unveiled a temporary memorial to honor residents who have died of COVID-19 — two days after the county’s death toll surpassed 1,100.

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    The county has set up a birdhouse filled with purple ribbons and markers near the Wightman Mansion in Yonkers’ Lenoir Preserve, Latimer said during a news conference Wednesday. 

    Visitors can write COVID-19 victims’ names on the ribbons and tie them on a rope structure near the birdhouse, or on either of two designated trees nearby, he said.

    Ribbons of Remembrance
    Westchester County

    “The reason why we’re here in Lenoir Preserve today is to recognize that every fatality is not a statistic — it’s a human being,” he said. “We wanted to do something to remember their lives. Not just the way that individuals died, but the way they lived.”

    “We’ve all lost people that we know and love through this process,” he added. “It’s a way to remember that these people once were with us, and were important to us, and we’re not going to forget them.” 

    RIbbons of Remembrance
    Westchester County

    As of Tuesday, a total of 30,240 Westchester County residents had tested positive for COVID-19 and 1,116 had died. Latimer on Wednesday didn’t immediately provide an update on new cases or deaths in the county.

    The “Ribbons of Remembrance” memorial will remain in place throughout the spring, summer and fall, he said. The county plans to memorialize its COVID-19 victims in a “more permanent way” before winter, as the ribbons may not fare well in severe weather.

    Visitors who use one of the memorial’s markers to write on a ribbon should drop the market in a designated bin afterwards, so a park staff member can disinfect it, the county’s Facebook page notes.

    “We hope it will be something where somebody will come by and see the purple ribbons, and remember that where there is now a ribbon, there was once a human being,” Latimer said. “And that that human being mattered to us, and that someone loved that person, and they were loved in return.” 

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