Gaffney leaders host ceremony, memorial for residents lost to COVID-19

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GAFFNEY, S.C. (WSPA) — Leaders in Cherokee County hosted a ceremony this morning to give families who lost a loved one to COVID-19 a chance to honor their lives.

Gaffney leaders placed nearly 200 flags at Jolly Park to represent the lives lost so far during the COVID-19 pandemic during a memorial ceremony on Friday morning. The city said this was inspired by the memorial at the U.S. Capitol — which had nearly 700,000 flags on display. The city wants to give families the chance to memorialize their loved ones.

The flags represented 200 people— who were neighbors, friends, mothers and fathers, daughters and sons sisters and brothers —lost to COVID-19 here in Cherokee County.

“We’ve lost a fireman with the city of Gaffney that passed away due to COVID-19, several members who had COVID and were hospitalized and friends throughout the state that have passed away,” Jaime Caggiano, fire chief at the city of Gaffney, said.

Even someone who represents the citizens of Gaffney, councilwoman Missy Norris, who lost a family member to COVID-19 and spearheaded this memorial to help other families grieve.

“What we’re asking is that families come out, It’ll be here through Monday. Come out, pull a flag up walk over to the table with sharpies they can write personal messages about their family member then put the flag back and it’ll be on display through Monday,” Caggiano said.

Mayor Randy Moss said the memorial gives families a chance to mourn their loved ones that may not have gotten the chance to have a proper burial service.

“It’s especially important for those who have not been able to have a funeral and not been able to have a family gathering because of the limitations of the number of people that can attend,” Dr. Randy Moss, mayor of Gaffney, said.

Friday morning’s ceremony was filled with lots of prayers, tears, words of encouragement, remembrance and calls for more people in the community to get vaccinated.

“Please get the vaccine. It’s very simple, available and free. Get your booster and let’s help one another,” Dr. Moss said.

Norris encourages people living in Cherokee County to come out and write a message about a loved one or friend lost to COVID-19. The memorial will last until Monday the 17th, after that date the exhibit will be moved to the visitor’s center.

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