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Opinion: National day of mourning needed

On November 9, 2020

BY LUCIANO MARCON / VN SPECIAL WRITER

More than 230,000 and counting have died from Covid-19 in the U.S., and it has not even been a year since the pandemic started.

To put this growing loss of people in perspective: 2,977 people died during the 9/11 terrorist attacks; 407,316 military personnel died in the less than four years the U.S. was in WWII; and an estimated 675,000 people in the U.S. died from the 1918 influenza pandemic, which lasted for two years.

It is not normal for people to cope with this much loss of life.

There has been no official national mourning of all the people who have died so far. Unlike the 9/11 attacks and mass shootings, we as a country have been robbed of properly grieving our dead.

The names of those we have lost have not been read aloud at an official memorial service.

Flags have not been lowered to half-mast throughout the country.

Collectively grieving the dead would also recognize how our country’s government at every level has mishandled the pandemic and how structural inequalities in our country’s healthcare system made the virus deadlier for Black, Latinx and Native Americans. The severity of this pandemic would be acknowledged as well as the failure of the response.

Police brutality is also at the forefront of public memory this year. Protests occurred throughout the year in resistance to systemic racism and honor of all the Black lives lost.

In the absence of leadership, people have found their own way to grieve our horrific losses.

During June, Detroiter John Thorne put 52 crosses on his lawn with names and photos to show Black Lives Matter.

In August, a collage of 900 Covid-19 victims was shown on Belle Isle along with billboard-sized photos staked around the park.

The names of Covid-19 victims submitted by families were read during the All Souls Day Mass at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit.

Communal grieving is not about welcoming negative emotions and injustice. Grieving together allows us to process and remember the lives of our loved ones.

May we continue to find ways to heal during this year.

May we grow in solidarity and strive towards ending the injustices in our country.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.

Marcon is a Detroit Mercy student.

 

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