Paramount makes plans to honor COVID-19 victims

By Arnold Adler

Contributing Writer

PARAMOUNT — City officials have previously indicated a desire to help residents get a COVID-19 vaccination, including driving them to a vaccination site and hosting a site at Paramount Park.

They are now proposing some type of memorial or remembrance for COVID victims and family members.

The City Council March 16 directed staff to continue its study of possible permanent memorials or special events in honor of Paramount residents who were victims of the coronavirus.

Based on Los Angeles County figures, Paramount had the highest percentage of COVID-19 victims per population in the region, said City Clerk Heide Luce.

“Staff has proposed a number of memorial activities for consideration by the City Council,” said David Johnson, director of parks and recreation, in a report to the council. “Each proposed activity is intended to recognize the current and on-going loss of life due to COVID-19 in a respectful, dignified but meaningful way.

“As the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines hopefully brings this pandemic to an end, we believe it is important to find a way to help all those so deeply affected by its fatal impact feel the embrace of their community in support of their loss,” Johnson added.

Johnson said proposals included a field of American flags placed within the grass field adjacent to the Memorial Plaza at City Hall

“This would be similar to the field of flags installed in this grass area following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks,” Johnson said.

Other suggestions were a flower memorial similar to the flag memorial, a day of remembrance, a light display in the civic center, a memorial garden or a bell-ringing ceremony with local churches.

He continued:

“As there is not a national color or symbol to represent the nation’s COVID-19 losses, we could create a simple design to symbolize these deaths and post banners along our light poles in the downtown area of the city,” Johnson presented as another idea.

He also suggested a ceremony in conjunction with the Latino observance of Day of the Dead (Dia de los muertos at Progress Park Plaza from Oct. 31 through Nov. 2.

“Lives and businesses have been incredibly disrupted and altered” during the pandemic, Johnson said. “More tragic has been the loss of life, particularly those of loved family and community members in the city of Paramount.

“The human loss of life across our nation is numbing but the loss of Paramount residents to this pandemic brings the reality of this struggle directly home in the most personal way possible,” he added.