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The Rockland County Covid-19 Memorial Site honors the lives of both victims of the Corona Virus and the Essential Workers who live in the Rockland County Community. The site selection for the memorial is Rockland Lake State Park located in Valley Cottage, New York. It is a popular destination that serves the Rockland County community with amenities including playgrounds, picnic areas, trails and a three mile walking and running path which also serves as the setting for local charity runs.
This Memorial is about CONNECTION and EMBRACE. Due to COVID-19, we have been experiencing a huge loss of physical connection and have been subjected to minimal visual connection through social media and other digital communication platforms. The pandemic has not only caused the loss of loved ones but also of the intimate physical contact that humans are hard-wired to seek out. The memorial’s site plan references the shape of an infinity sign. An infinity sign has no beginning and no end. However, this site plan has a distinct focus on center and edge conditions.
The center of the Memorial is representative of the virus. Though we have limited understanding about COVID-19, it is a dominant force in all of our lives. It has taken lives, and because of the virus, we are unable to physically embrace friends and family members. We all share this constant fear that the virus will be with us in perpetuity. The pathway is representative of an edge, it is also a symbolic invitation to help and heal. Therefore, the broken edges of the memorial pathway highlight the essential and frontline workers striving to break the spread and devastation of COVID-19. The circular pathway is representative of the embracing of arms. We yearn to wrap our arms around those that we love. The night, day and dusk views on the site plan are reminders that life will continue, and despite the circumstances, we must brave the future.
Similar to the circular shape of the pathway, the geometry of the monuments is also representative of the embracing of arms. In the center of the monument are silhouettes of essential and frontline workers. The material of the silhouettes is made of a textured white metal. White is symbolic of the purity of a nurse’s uniform, or doctor’s coat. It is an appreciation to those workers who have been supporting us through this time. While the path resembles the journey of life, and the runners and walkers represent how fast we are pushing through our lives, the bench represents the pause that we must take to sit and reflect on the tragic events of this pandemic. Instead of listing the names of the victims, this monument places short narratives of the lives lost to Covid-19 in order to honor their legacies within the community.
This memorial combines the grounded remembrance of those that perished from Covid-19 with the uplifting, light and optimistic future path provided for us by the support of frontline and essential workers.
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