Detroit Prepares for Citywide Memorial Honoring COVID-19 Victims

Detroit Memorial Day

Starting Aug. 30, Detroit will be holding a two-day citywide memorial service to honor the lives lost due to COVID-19, the first of its kind in the country. Mayor Mike Duggan has declared Aug. 31 Detroit Memorial Day meant to remember the 1,500 Detroiters lost between March and Aug. 18, many laid to rest without the homegoing services they deserved. 

“Detroiters care deeply for one another, and we felt it was important and necessary to provide an opportunity for members of this community to collectively celebrate the lives of those we’ve lost to this terrible virus,” says Mayor Duggan. “This is how we begin the healing process.”

Commemoration will begin with simultaneous, intimate “city salutes” taking place across all of Detroit’s seven districts led by city council members starting on Aug. 30 at 5 p.m. The next morning, beginning at 9 a.m., Belle Isle will be closed to the public and used to host a Memorial Drive for the families of COVID-19 victims, including 14 arranged processions guided by several Detroit funeral homes.

The island will display over 900 billboard-sized photos of Detroiters, submitted during an online campaign this summer. Rochelle Riley, Detroit’s director of arts and culture, confirmed that photos will remain up through noon on Tuesday, Sept. 1. Ford Motor Company Fund will serve as presenting sponsor of the Memorial Drive. 

And WRCJ 90.9 FM has partnered with the city to curate music for the Memorial Drive, sharing gospel, classical and jazz sounds throughout the entire day. Detroit communities are encouraged to turn their dials to 90.9 in the spirit of unity. 


After the Drive, at 4 p.m., Detroiters can tune into WDIV to watch a special Detroit Memorial Day concert on the Detroit Arts and Entertainment Channel (Detroit A&E – Channel 22) and The Ford Fireworks on WDIV Local 4.

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