Submissions sought for county memorial that will honor victims of COVID-19 pandemic

A COVID-19 memorial will honor the lives of Suffolk County residents who succumbed to the virus and provide an “opportunity to find comfort in community” for those who lost someone.

The Suffolk County Legislature is seeking submissions from residents so their loved one’s names can be written on a ribbon as part of the memorial, which will be on display throughout March. Families can have the opportunity to personally add the ribbon to the memorial at their convenience.

The county will formally unveil the memorial Monday afternoon outside the Suffolk County Legislature’s William H. Rogers Building in Smithtown. County officials will tie the first ribbons to the memorial to begin the project. A temporary structure will also be set up in the lobby of the Evans K. Griffing Building in Riverside. Any ribbon tied in Riverside will be incorporated into the memorial, the county said.

More than 3,000 Suffolk residents have died from COVID-19 in the past year.

“The County of Suffolk offers its deepest condolences to all who are grieving the loss of a loved one to COVID-19, a time made all the more difficult by an inability to mourn in traditional ways,” said Robert Calarco, the presiding officer of the County Legislature, in a press release.

Anyone who lost someone to COVID-19 can make a submission online by clicking here. The website also provides an option to share a photo and memory. Once the county receives the submission, the county staff will write the loved one’s name on a ribbon.

Riverhead Town is also planning to declare the first Monday of every March as “COVID-19 Victims and Survivors Memorial Day.” A ceremony Monday morning will include the placement of a memorial tree donated by Case’s Creek Nursery and Masonry and an unveiling of a monument donated by Rothwell Monuments. The permanent tribute “will serve as a reminder to honor those who have lost their lives and to acknowledge the individuals and families who continue to suffer from the lasting impacts of the COVID-19 virus.”