GOSHEN — For Cynthia Friesen Coyle of Faith Mennonite Church, a new memorial planned is meant to both remember and to reflect.

“Our church decided to create a memorial for those who have died this past year to COVID,” Coyle said by email Monday.

According to a news release, the commemoration will have a white flag representing each of the 428 confirmed Elkhart County residents who died of COVID-19 since March 29 of 2020. It will be in place from Sunday afternoon, April 11 until the following Sunday afternoon, April 18 on the south lawn of the Elkhart County courthouse in downtown Goshen.

“We’re hoping that it will be just one of many places that people can come to find reflection and healing, to remember their loved ones, and also to reflect on the magnitude of the losses and people affected in our community,” Coyle said. “It has been a year like no other and it will be a sobering reminder.”

Visitors to the site are asked to be respectful of others and observe health/safety protocols when in proximity to other individuals and groups. Signage at the memorial will be in both English and Spanish, and a number of blue flags surrounding the white flags will represent those lost outside Elkhart County.

“We envision it as a space where individuals and small groups of people can safely come together, walk among the flags, remember their loved ones, and reflect on the losses of others,” Coyle said. “Our hope is that the memorial will be one of many places of reflection and healing for our community in the coming months.

“While I’ve been fortunate that no one in my immediate family has died of COVID-19, countless families have been profoundly affected. I can’t imagine not being able to be at the bedside of a loved one in their last hours or not being able to come together to grieve and support each other during a time of loss.”

For more information about FMC visit faithmennonitegoshen.org.

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