New York City pays emotional tribute to more than 30,000 Covid-19 deaths

Faces of victims of Covid-19 are projected onto the Brooklyn Bridge during a memorial service in New York City, on March 14, 2021.
Faces of victims of Covid-19 are projected onto the Brooklyn Bridge during a memorial service in New York City, on March 14, 2021.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - New York, the US city most bereaved by the coronavirus, paid a moving tribute Sunday (March 14) to its 30,258 dead, one year after the start of the pandemic.

"More New Yorkers lost than in World War II, Vietnam, Hurricane Sandy and 9/11 put together. Every family touched in some way, and for so many families a pain, a pain that is raw," Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a live virtual ceremony, after calling for a moment of silence to honour the victims.

The Democratic mayor heralded the "healthcare heroes" who "saved lives," sometimes at their own expense.

He also called on New Yorkers to remember the good times.

"No matter what happens, no one can take away the dances you've already danced," he said, speaking in Spanish as he quoted Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, in a city where a third of immigrants are of Latin origin.

The virtual ceremony began with a short recital by the New York Philharmonic, in front of lit candles on the iconic Brooklyn Bridge on a chilly and windy night.

Large black and white photos of the victims were projected onto the bridge.

There were speeches by religious leaders, a young poet and a performance by Hezekiah Walker, pastor of the Love Fellowship Tabernacle Church and popular gospel artist, accompanied by The Love Fellowship Choir.


New York City's Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a commemoration ceremony in Brooklyn, New York, on March 14, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS