South Mississippians gather to remember lives lost from COVID-19

South Mississippians gather to remember lives lost from COVID-19

DIAMONDHEAD, Miss. (WLOX) - In order to honor the more than 400,000 American lives lost to COVID-19, churches across the country rang their bells at 5 p.m. EST in correlation with the COVID-19 memorial being held at the same time in Washington D.C.

St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Diamondhead joined in on the trend, with more than two dozen masked and socially distant people watching in the parking lot.

“We’ve had a lot of loss and it’s ok to acknowledge the loss,” said the Rev. Mary Koppel. “There is a lot of pain and a lot of hurt.”

The event was organized by the Diamondhead Democrats, Progressive and Independents Alliance in order to provide emotional support to those that lost loved ones to the pandemic.

“We have 400,000 people dead across the nation as a result of (COVID-19),” said organizer Richard Gillespie. “That’s traumatic. It needs to be addressed. It needs to be spoken of and people need the opportunity to talk about their feelings related to that.”

The group gathered in a circle, listening to prayers and songs before spending time naming out-loud loved ones and family members who died from the virus.

Following that, the church bell rang 40 times as a representation of every 10,000 deaths in the U.S.

“We rang bells for our first responders, our teachers, for those that are going above and beyond and we also need to ring bells for those that have died,” Koppel said. “We need to recognize that loss.”

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