The COVID death toll in the United States is fast climbing beyond 219,000 people.
2020 has been a year no-one could have imagined: a global pandemic, economic decimation, heroic medical and other frontline workers, months-long lockdowns with no end in sight, over 219,000 fellow Americans dead, and that toll still rising. This loss is quiet, with whispered goodbyes on Facetime as family members are not allowed to visit hospitals, and funerals via Zoom because gathering together could take more lives.
This cannot go unnoticed.
So many thousands of people have passed away isolated from their own families and loved ones. They have slipped away from us out of our view, unseen. They deserve better, and so does the nation they leave behind.
We're creating a massive artwork to collectively grieve as a nation.
Picture this: More than 219,000 handcrafted red felt roses are placed in undulating rows outdoors to represent each life taken. This artwork will represent the enormity of the loss from the COVID-19 crisis. The memorial becomes a focus for all of us to mourn and heal.
Roses have been used throughout history in many cultures and religions to symbolize the passing of the spirit, to mourn the dead, and seek solace. The rose is the official floral emblem of the United States, and it is customary for red roses to feature in funerals, often arranged en masse atop the casket.
Rose River is a casket for the nation, a river of roses to show respect and to grieve.