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Raleigh joins nationwide movement to honor lives lost to coronavirus pandemic

Posted January 19, 2021 9:47 p.m. EST
Updated January 19, 2021 11:22 p.m. EST

Raleigh joins nationwide movement to honor lives lost to coronavirus pandemic

From the Fayetteville Street office towers and Raleigh’s municipal building to the governor's mansion and the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, the color amber was a common theme on Tuesday night as cities and towns across the Triangle joined the nationwide coronavirus memorial.

"She'd be smiling, she'd be laughing," said Hannah Robbins, who lost her mother, Mary Ward, to the virus in November. "I know she'd be crying – she was an emotional person – seeing the community come together."

Ward was one of more than 400,000 people in the U.S. killed by coronavirus.

"It's so baffling how many people lost a family member, who lost a loved one and that numbers keeps rising," said Robbins.

Reneka Colbert lost two of her loved ones last year: her grandmother Una Mae Daye shortly after celebrating her 90th birthday and her uncle Robert Foster.

"That's a lot of people to have lost in just one year from this pandemic," said Colbert.

Colbert explained that the hardest part was not being able to say goodbyes.

"With them passing from COVID, we could not see them at the funeral nor in the casket. They were not embalmed. We were left with that's it, it's over. It feels as if they were discarded as trash, and it hurt, it really hurt," said Colbert.

The memorial gave both families a chance to know that their loved ones aren’t just another number.

"Seeing the community come together in remembrance of her, and all the families that were broken during this time, is just so amazing," said Robbins.

"They had a brightness about them that changed our community, and their light is gone, and it's missed, and it will continuously be missed. It's a void that will not be filled," said Colbert.

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