Requiem of Light Memorial Remembers Those We’ve Lost to COVID-19

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Nearly 3,000 St. Louisans -- city and county -- have died of COVID-19. In honor of those we've lost, Washington University St. Louis professor Rebecca Messbarger arranged a memorial at Art Hill. A lantern for each person lost to COVID-19 was lit and placed on the waters of the Great Basin.

“Public grief rituals or memorials are an ancient and near-universal response to death that proclaim the loss of life in order to help individuals and communities heal,” Messbarger said in a press release. “For many of the recently deceased and grieving in our community, their stories remain untold, the agony of their loss unrelieved. History reminds us that silence is another affliction of deadly contagion.”

Messbarger teamed up with Philip Woodmore and the Missouri History Museum to make the event happen. Taking inspiration from East Asian lantern festivals, the lanterns aim to "evoke the spirit of those lost and to bring light and hope to those who remain" and commemorate the loss, as well.

The event took place on October 2 at 7 p.m. Music was played from a variety of artists, with jazz singer Denise Thimes performing a tribute to the victims of COVID-19. Rene Knott of 5 on Your Side served as Master of Ceremonies.

Mayor Tishaura Jones spoke and interfaith leaders offered their condolences, just two examples of the many speakers who took the mic that night.

Here are photos from the memorial, capturing the performances and tributes to those we've lost.

10/02/2021

Photos by Phuong Bui