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Arizonans memorialize loved ones lost to COVID-19

Arizonans impacted by COVID-19 came together Monday to remember the tens of thousands of people who have died from the virus in the state over the past two years.

The Arizona Historical Society hosted the event, along with the organization Marked By COVID. Marked By COVID is pushing for lawmakers to designate the first Monday of March as a national day of COVID remembrance.

“My father and a million other people will never come back," said Tara Krepps, who lost her father to COVID-19 in 2020. Krepps is now the Arizona hub lead for Marked By COVID. "We need a day not just of memorial or grieving, but a day of remembrance and celebration of their lives. They were important, they were loved and they are missed.”

The memorial event also marked the opening of an exhibit displaying portions of the  COVID Memorial Quilt at the Arizona Heritage Center in Tempe. The quilt project was inspired by the AIDS Memorial Quilt. It includes handmade pieces honoring victims of the virus around the world. It will be on display through summer. 

Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent reporting on a variety of issues, including public health and climate change.