500 white flags placed at United Congregational Church to remember COVID-19 victims

Hampden County

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – On this Good Friday, a remembrance of western Massachusetts neighbors and Holyoke Soldiers’ Home residents who became victims of COVID-19 this past year.

The bells tolled at noon at United Congregational Church in Holyoke, as Pastor Chuck Morkin and his congregants placed hundreds of white flags encircling the church grounds. Five hundred lives lost to the virus honored, including the 77 residents of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home who perished since last year.

Reverend Morkin 22News, “Not just Holyoke, it’s a global thing, very often it’s the poor, who don’t get the message. Who are not being concerned with vaccine and health care.”

“We just wanted to start letting our community know we are alive and well. What better way to do that than honor the COVID-19 victims that we have had here in the Holyoke area,” said Lisa Kochian of the United Congregational Church in Holyoke.

Friday’s flag placing ceremony will be followed by Saturday’s noontime interfaith service for all who lost a loved one to the dreaded virus. Over the years, the church has had a close relationship with the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home. Some of Saturday’s service attendees still mourn the pandemic related deaths a year ago.

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