One bouquet of the Floral Hearts Project was placed in the COVID-19 memorial at the Civic Center, which is maintained by an Evanston resident who wishes to remain anonymous. This photo and all photos in the slideshow were submitted by Mary O'Connor

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Volunteers in Evanston placed 10 flowered hearts in public places here as part of the Floral Hearts Project to remember victims of COVID-19. Unofficially, March 1 was a national day of mourning for victims of COVID-19, and it is possible that this will become a national day of observance.

On Feb. 26, Representative Greg Stanton from Arizona, using the momentum from the advocacy group Marked by Covid and others, presented a resolution to the House to designate the first Monday in March as a national day of mourning for victims of the virus.

Even without Congressional approval, many municipalities, including Evanston, marked March 1 as a day of mourning for those whose lives were lost to or touched by COVID-19.

Mary O’Connor, who grew up in Evanston, contacted local officials and civic organizations to implement the project here. In a letter that acknowledged the efforts of the Evanston groups and individuals involved, which was also sent to the RoundTable, Ms. O’Connor wrote that she hoped the floral arrangements would reach “hundreds of our fellow Evanstonians in love and support over the next few days.

“We placed 10 hearts across Evanston, including five unannounced locations. … As flowers were displayed, spaces were created for contemplation and remembrance. Friends, coworkers and neighbors shared stories of their experiences and their losses. Dedications were made and burdens were momentarily shared. I have faith that we will build a better future this way.

“In addition to the emotional connections we made in the language of flowers, we made governmental progress as well. Over 65 mayors, including Mayor Hagerty, signed proclamations recognizing the first Monday in March as a COVID Memorial Day.

“I believe this past year will change us all in untold ways. Acknowledging our loss, learning from our global pandemic experience, and caring for those left grieving is worthwhile work.”

Locations in the slideshow are AMITA Health Saint Francis, Evanston Hospital, Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, Northwestern University, Raymond Park, Robert Crown Center, The Mather, Three Crowns Park, and Westminster Place.

Mary Gavin

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...