The New York Times: Entire Front Page Devoted to Names & Memories for Hundreds of COVID-19 Victims Across the Nation

Fortunately, many of us in Whitewater still don’t personally know anyone who has passed away from COVID-19; in fact, we may not even know anyone who has had a confirmed case.

The New York Times indicates that “As the death toll from Covid-19 in the United States approaches 100,000, a number expected to be reached in the coming days, editors at The Times have been planning how to mark the grim milestone….Simone Landon, assistant editor of the Graphics desk, wanted to represent the number in a way that conveyed both the vastness and the variety of lives lost…The New York Times gathered names of the dead and memories of their lives from obituaries across the country.” Names and memories of hundreds of those people covered the entire front page of the newspaper on Sunday, May 24, and were continued inside the paper. Still, only about 1% of the victims were named. The online version, which may be viewed by clicking here, includes a figure to represent each of the persons who has lost their life. As a reader scolls through the list, on the right side of the page, dates of the deaths are shown, together with the mounting toll.

A copy of the front page itself, together with the story of how the remembrances were compiled, may be seen here.

The comments that have been made on the article certainly indicate that the gesture was much appreciated, especially by those who have lost loved ones. Here are a couple that The Times selected to especially feature.

Sherry Hornell, NY

“I literally stared for unknown minutes seeing the NY Times front page online, attempting to process what I was seeing. Trying to understand how I “fit” into this moment. Yet, for the first time since I lost my mom to the virus in March, I finally felt I wasn’t alone. How strange to find belonging in such a place. I quickly scanned the names to see if my mom might be there. I soon realized, I didn’t have the additional pages, and like some others, Covid was not noted in her obituary by the funeral director, in an attempt to mitigate any issues with a public pronouncement. (Arrangements across state lines was reminder enough.) So as of this moment I don’t know if my mom is listed here. Regardless, I am heartened by this remembrance. I read an on-line magazine piece regarding the struggle related to Covid grieving, so many layers to be grieved. That is me. No generations of family to share grief, or the memories and stories that initiate healing and immortalize my mom in a loving family circle. I feel the loneliness of three generations of only children. My mom probably is not listed here but for a brief moment I didn’t feel so alone. Even as I cried, not only in my own loss, but for these wonderful real people on this list and their families. It’s not quite what any of us would have anticipated in the death of a loved one. Thank you NY TIMES for trying to capture the indescribable. All the love. And a place to belong when few can understand your unique kind of grief.”

abigail49, Georgia

“Thank you, thank you for this memorial. We have heard and read the numbers. day in and day out and those of us who do not know a victim of the virus can slip into a very self-centered state of mind. In that state of mind, we can focus on our differences — political, cultural, racial, and class — and not our commonality and our interdependence. It is fitting that this memorial to the victims of a pandemic is presented on a weekend when we remember our fallen soldiers. Our military includes all Americans from every walk of life. Each of their lives is equally valuable. Each of their contributions to the defense of our nation is equally valuable. Each of them sacrificed much, even their lives, to serve us all. I hope that reading these names and learning a little about their lives will unite us as a country in common cause to defeat it and we will willingly sacrifice something in that cause.”

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