Detroit island park transformed into coronavirus memorial

Detroit island park transformed into coronavirus memorial
© Getty Images

Detroit transformed Belle Isle Park into a memorial for victims of the coronavirus pandemic on Monday. 

Nearly 900 billboard-sized photos of people who died from the virus were placed in the park on the day Mayor Mike Duggan (D) declared “Detroit Memorial Day” to remember those who have died and did not get typical funerals or remembrance services due to restrictions on gatherings. 

“Detroiters care deeply for one another and we felt it was important and necessary to provide an opportunity for members of this community to collectively celebrate the lives of those we’ve lost to this terrible virus,” Duggan said in a statement ahead of the Monday memorial. “This is how we begin the healing process.”

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The photos represent some of the more than 1,500 city residents who have died from the virus. 

Hearses escorted by police led a procession around Belle Isle Park in the Detroit River after bells rang across the region at 8:45 a.m., the Associated Press reported

WRCJ, a radio station that plays classical and jazz music, added gospel to its playlist and read the names of those who had died, according to the newswire. 

Rochelle Riley, Detroit’s director of arts and culture, said the memorial was “designed to bring some peace to families whose loved ones didn't have the funeral they deserved.” 

“But it may also force us to work harder to limit the number of COVID-19 deaths we’ll endure in the coming months,” Riley added, according to the AP.