COVID-19 Memorial organizers searching for scouts to help remember those lost to the pandemic



Nearly 4,000 Ocean State residents have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

Fred Faria and Rev. Eugene Dyszlewski have joined forces to spearhead a statewide COVID-19 flag memorial, which will feature a small white flag for each of the Rhode Island souls lost to the virus.

The memorial plans are well underway, but Faria is searching for local scouts to help set up the memorial, on the Rhode Island State House south lawn at the end of June.

“I have reached out to the offices of the Boy Scouts & Girl Scouts with limited success for assistance in the installation of almost 4,000 flags for this memorial,” Faria said this week.

Interested scout troops can contact Faria at home by calling 401-828-5355, or his cell phone, at 401-743-5548.

“To honor those in Rhode Island who have died from COVID-19 and to support healing, the Rhode Island Council of Churches is presenting ‘In America: Rhode Island Remembers’ on the Rhode Island State House lawn,” according to a press release from the council. “This sobering art installation will have close to 4,000 flags recognizing each Rhode Islander lost to the pandemic.”

“In America: Rhode Island Remembers” is “a sanctioned echo” of the original project “In America: Remember” by artist, Susan Brennan Firstenberg. Her installation blanketed the National Mall in Washington D.C. with more than 660,000 white flags last fall. The flags were intended to show “the magnitude of our loss as a nation, while honoring each person who has died from COVID-19,” according to the council.

“In Autumn of 2020, Firstenberg created an installation, ultimately composed of 267,000 white flags at the DC Armory Parade Ground, to make visible the human toll of the continuing pandemic,” according to the artist’s website biography.

The memorial in Providence will launch with an opening ceremony at 11 a.m., Saturday, June 25.

“The flag exhibit will be on display and open to the public all week until Saturday, July 2,” according to the council. “This will give our greater community an opportunity to reflect on both our collective and personal loss. Individuals who wish, may dedicate a flag to the memory of a lost loved one. Acknowledging the sensitivity of the issue, ongoing staffing by interfaith clergy will be available throughout the installation’s presence to offer pastoral support to those whose grief is great or even yet to be recognized.”

The exhibit will remain on display through a closing gathering planned for 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 2.

“Following the closing gathering flags will be collected by designated representatives from the individual towns and cities of Rhode Island for local memorials,” according to the Rhode Island Council of Churches.

Faria hopes he can find enough interested scouts to help make the memorial a reflective success.

“In Rhode Island alone we have lost almost 4,000 wonderful people to COVID-19,” Faria wrote. “It is our hope that this will be a special memorial for families to find some solace at the state and local level. We are requesting the Boy & Girl Scouts assist with the installation of the flags (at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 25) to help make it a multigenerational community based event. Also, as 1 in 3 families have been affected by COVID-19 deaths, this hits home for many younger folks with losing grandparents, parents, relatives and friends.”

Faria and the Council of Churches are also looking for local first responders to help bring the memorial to each of the Ocean State’s municipalities.

“At the end of the week, July 2, after the Closing Gathering, the plan is to bring the flags to the 39 cities and towns so they may have it at the local level,” Faria wrote. “We are requesting local first responders assist in de-installation of the flags as they carry them to their 39 cities and towns for their own local personal memorials.”

For more information, visit, or the artist’s website,


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