The Village of Ossining broke ground Saturday on a COVID-19 Remembrance Memorial at Nelson Sitting Park.
When completed, the memorial will have benches and a wall for people to visit and reflect on loved ones who have succumbed during the pandemic and those who have stepped up to help others. Since last March, Westchester County has recorded 2,162 COVID-19-related deaths.
Ossining Mayor Rika Levin, whose father died from coronavirus last April, stressed the village’s new addition, which is located near Park School, was intended to honor not just Ossining residents, but anyone in the world who fell victim to the deadly strain.
“This community was hit very hard,” Levin said. “This has to be meaningful moving forward.”
Village Manager Karen D’Attore said several village employees were affected by COVID-19 and noted how Ossining was one of the first municipalities to partner with Feeding Westchester to support needy residents.
“As we look towards the end of this awful pandemic, it’s important that we take a moment to acknowledge the tremendous heartbreak and strain so many people have suffered,” D’Attore remarked.
Town Supervisor Dana Levenberg, whose father-in-law died of coronavirus alone in a hospital in December, called the last 12 months “the worst year of our collective lives.”
“I hope it (memorial) offers the smallest reprieve from dark times today, tomorrow and for many years into the future,” she said.
State Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick said he hopes the memorial is viewed in the future the same way similar places dedicated for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks are embraced.
“To have a space for the community to come and remember and grieve will be very meaningful,” he said.