‘We Remember’ | Faith leaders honor the 10,000 + Mississippians who died of COVID
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - No talking. No movement. Only the sound of cathedral bells marked the start of the Day of Remembrance and Mourning at Smith Park Tuesday.
Underneath sunny skies, a small crowd of like-minded people gathered to pray, sing and reflect on the lives cut short by Coronavirus.
“By faith, we believe they are in a better place,” Bishop Ronnie Crudup, Sr. of New Horizon Church International, said with a heavy heart.
“Each flag here today represents 10 Mississippians who have died from COVID-19. May it never happen again in our lifetime.”
One thousand white flags covered the lawn at Smith Park.
One of them stood for 69-year-old Hugh Hollowell, Sr., a long-time, well-respected emergency management coordinator in North Mississippi.
But to Hugh Hollowell, Jr. he was just - dad.
“He was delivering PPE equipment to a group of first responders March of last year to make sure they could protect themselves from the virus,” Hollowell said. “That was on Thursday. He got sick Friday and died at home four days later.”
Hollowell’s heart shattered.
“My nieces and nephews saw my mom standing on the porch watching as they took my dad away. They couldn’t console their grandmother - my mom - because of social distancing. It was horrible,” he recalled.
“He had been in that position since the 80′s -was well-known across Marshall County, but he had ten people at his funeral. It was horrible,” Hollowell, Jr. said.
Hollowell pastors Open Door Mennonite Church in Jackson, one of 80 members of the non-profit Working Together Mississippi, who helped organize the memorial.
Dozens of interfaith clergy leaders from around the state prayed, encouraging everyone in attendance that no one died in vain.
“Experiences of life and death have tied us together, and we stand in solidarity with those who are gone,” Rev. Warren Coile of the United Methodist Church said. “Lord, we thank you for their lives.”
Hollowell said Working Together Mississippi also wants people to know the lives lost were anything but political.
“We seem so divided on this. My dad’s life was not a political issue. The thousands of others who died were not political, and we can do our best to honor them by making sure this never happens again.”
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