EASTON — A collection of Talbot County dignitaries, public servants and public health leaders came together on the courthouse steps as the bell above rang six times on Friday, March 5. They came to heed the governor’s statewide order to recognize the one-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 cases in the state.

They also honored the lives lost during the pandemic.

“In the days and months ahead we ask you dear Lord to continue to wrap your loving arms around the families of the 29 fellow Talbot Countians as well as the families across the country who are left with only fleeting memories of warm smiles,” he said.

State buildings and county court houses across Maryland were lit amber in remembrance of the pandemic and those who have died from COVID-19.

At the Talbot County Courthouse in Easton, 29 white paper bags were filled with sand and an electric light to symbolize those who have died of the virus. The lights ran in straight lines towards the courthouse doors. As the sun set in the background, a few people spoke in reverent tones. One of the main ideas repeated was that these 29 were individuals and not numbers.

“We are going in the right direction. We are not where I would be very comfortable. I do have some hesitancy. These variants are expanding in numbers across Maryland and the country. So that is a big question mark,” said Dr. Maria Maguire, health officers for Talbot County.

“I would encourage everyone to continue the protective measures- social distancing, wearing a mask continuing to encourage our neighbors to get vaccines- in remembrance of all our fellow residents who have become sick or suffered through this,” she said.

There have been 7,759 deaths attributed to the coronavirus during the pandemic, according to the Maryland Department of Health.

“The governor had the good idea to recognize those we had lost this year to COVID. To their families we say that our thoughts and prayers are with you. Every county has had a loss,” said Talbot County Councilman Corey Pack.

Others council members agreed.

“I have been very impressed with Talbot County stepping up to follow the guidelines, supporting one another and keeping us all safe. It certainly is a time to mourn those we have lost and thank those that are doing the right things,” said Frank Divilio member of the Talbot County Council.

Council vice president Pete Lesher read a proclamation to the shivering and wrapped up crowd.

“COVID-19 is having catastrophic effects on human life, our community and our economy. Essential workers have stepped up to provide critical services to help our communities and save lives sacrificing their own health and safety. And whereas more than 500,000 Americans have died from the COVID-19 virus. In Talbot Country there have been 29 confirmed deaths,” he said.

“We the Talbot County Council do hereby proclaim March 5, 2021 as COVID-19 day of remembrance in Talbot County. And urge all citizens to participate in a moment of silence. Friends this is a solemn occasion. In one of these 29 luminaries is a friend of mine,” said Lesher.

County manger Clay Stamp hailed the community’s generosity during the pandemic.

“On behalf of the Office of Emergency Management serving the state of Maryland, I want to say I’m just absolutely amazed at the strength that we are seeing in our community and Talbot County. We have come together and we have seen huge examples of generosity and just that spirit of coming together and it will get better,” Stamp said.

And with that the lectern was wheeled away and all that remained were the 29 lights on the cold brick ground.

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