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Families Relive Fondest Memories of Loved Ones Lost to COVID-19 as USA Crosses "Heartbreaking Milestone" of 500,000 Deaths

Families Relive Fondest Memories of Loved Ones Lost to COVID-19 as USA Crosses "Heartbreaking Milestone" of 500,000 Deaths

The virus has been indiscriminate about the victims. Most of them were senior adults and/or with underlying conditions as well.

The coronavirus pandemic became the cause of one of the biggest tragedies for the USA in recent times. The country lost more than half a million lives. The number of tragedies because of the pandemic has increased to more than the number of lives that were lost during World War II. The virus has been indiscriminate about the victims. They come from all age groups, races, gender, and class. Most of them were senior adults and/or those with underlying conditions as well.

The President of the United States Joe Biden commemorated the people who were lost over the past year. The USA has the most number of coronavirus deaths in the world.

"Today, we mark a truly grim, heartbreaking milestone," he said in a brief speech at the White House, as reported by CBS News. "500,071 dead. That's more Americans who died in one year in this pandemic than in World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined," he said. "That's how you heal — you have to remember," said the President. "And it's also important to do that as a nation. For those who have lost loved ones, here's what I know: They're never truly gone. They'll always be part of your heart," he added.



 

He had also ordered the flags at the White House be lowered to half staff. The steps of the White House residence to the South Lawn were full of candles as the President, First Lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff looked out over the South Lawn in a moment of silence.

The loved ones of the people lost to the pandemic also remembered their losses in emotional messages. "The world just lost a little bit of color," Tom Montgomery, Olan Montgomery’s identical twin brother, 52, told CNN. He is remembered for his zest for life. "He followed his heart in everything," said his friend, Jennifer Tealey. "He really left this world on top of the world."



 

Sarah Washington, 82, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2009, but she had no problem remembering every key and every note, her granddaughter Brielle Washington said. The California resident was the choir director at a California high school and at Providence Baptist Church for more than 25 years.

42-year-old Benjamin Bush Jr. was a dad-of-four and a football coach for the Farmingdale Hawks. "His whole aura and smile brightened up any place he went and anyone he came in contact with," his wife of 17 years, Angela Bush, said.



 

Another dad, 76-year-old Shafqat Khan of New Jersey, died in April 2020. His daughter, Sabila, told NPR, "We don't have that privilege of growing numb to the numbers. We're in it. I wish people would think about this every day."

Josh Hollifield's father Alan Hollifield, a maintenance mechanic, was only 60 when he died in North Carolina sometime after Thanksgiving. "[COVID] took him from healthy to dead in three weeks," Josh said.



 

As a flight attendant, he has dealt with passengers who refuse to wear a mask, and that frustrates him even more. "The larger the numbers are," he said, "the harder it is to feel the empathy anymore. And I don't know how we make that empathy personal again. ... Our brains are not good with big numbers."

Carol McIntyre lost her husband, 70-year-old James McIntyre, of 36 years on July 20, 2020, in Pensacola, Florida. "I refuse to attach him to a number," Carol said. "I mean, I'm sure he is in that count," she said. "But I just refuse to attach him to a number," she added.



 

There are thousands of others across the world who have felt the pain that they are going through. The numbers keep growing beyond the US borders as well, and each loss is one that might have been prevented if all of us had taken the disease seriously.

References: 

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/biden-500000-covid-19-deaths-watch-live-stream-today-2021-02-22/

https://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2021/health/covid19-us-deaths-memorial/

https://www.npr.org/2021/02/22/968754578/to-me-hes-not-a-number-families-reflect-as-u-s-nears-500-000-covid-19-deaths

Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Visoot Uthairam (Representational Image)

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