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Savannah remembers the hundreds of local lives lost due to COVID-19
City leaders join national ceremony held Jan. 19 in memoriam of pandemic victims
Savannah Mayor Van Johnson and other City Council members stand on the balcony of City Hall during a COVID-19 memorial ceremony on Jan. 19. - photo by Brandy Simpkins
A somber bell-ringing ceremony was held at Savannah City Hall as the local community joined cities across the nation in honoring the lives lost to the coronavirus pandemic during a COVID-19 memorial on the evening of Tuesday, Jan. 19.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson and City Council members observed the memorial while standing on the balcony of City Hall, while no more than two dozen individuals participated from adjacent corners of Bull and Bay Street. For this solemn event, City Hall was illuminated in red lights, and a bell rang once for every 10 of the 264 lives lost to COVID-19 in Chatham County as of Jan. 19.

“These are more than statistics, these are 264 souls, 264 mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, empty seats at the table, 264 calls that will not be answered,” Johnson said at a Jan. 19 press conference. “So we do this not only in memory of the lives that were lost in this war against COVID-19, but we also do it to support the families that still remain.”

Houses of worship, businesses, and individuals were invited to participate in the national memorial in their own respective socially-distanced ways. Displays on Chatham Area Transit buses read “Savannah Remembers” and “Savannah Strong” on Jan. 19. The Adams Funeral Home honored the lives lost with a white rose tribute, and many individuals showed their support by posting their personal memorials and photos on social media with the hashtags #SavannahRemembers and #SavannahStrong.

Savannah's memorial coincided with ceremonies nationwide, including a lighting ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C. As of Jan. 19, more than 11,000 Georgians and 264 Chatham County residents have died from COVID-19, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health Website.