By: Adaeze Igwegbe
Over 213,000 people have died in the US from the COVID virus in just a matter of 8 months. On Sunday, October 11, 2020, approximately 210,000 COVID-19 survivors and families placed a total of 20,000 empty chairs on the lawn across from the White House.
This representation covered half of the yard in front of the White House. To remember the survivors and victims who contracted this illness, families and victims declared Sunday “a national remembrance day,” a day where the COVID survivors could tell their own story. Members who attended the park, located south of the White House, listened to stories of those lost and those who’ve survived.
People such as Lisa Billings spoke about how this outcome has touched their lives. Billings’ brother, Leo, died from the virus three weeks after taking him to the hospital. Rabbi Sharon, a representative, spoke on how the idea behind this event was for others to talk about the trauma COVID has caused. She talks about how people’s hearts are broken but their “spirits are strong.”
Mrs. Corwin, the mother of Jeffery Corwin, talked about how her son died of the virus as well at age 59. “Can you imagine how difficult it is to not have held my son’s hand? Kissed him goodbye? or even seen him? Or had the privilege of giving him a proper burial? Having to do it on zoom?” she stated. The display was placed in front of the White House in honor of victims like Corwin.
Each chair displayed was meant to represent every ten American lives lost from the COVID virus to date.