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COVID-19 Day of Remembrance

Exactly one year ago, I announced the State of Maryland’s first confirmed cases of COVID-19 and I declared a State of Emergency.

In those early hours of the crisis as we began to take unprecedented actions to bring our entire public health arsenal to bear against this invisible enemy, none of us could truly have fathomed the toll that this global pandemic would take on our lives and on our very way of life.

But it was no surprise that Marylanders rose to meet this crisis with great courage and compassionfrom doctors and nurses coming out of retirement to help on the front lines to National Guard citizen soldiers distributing meals to kids, to the people volunteering giving blood and donating to food banks, to the businesses that shifted their entire operations overnight in order to make masks produce hand sanitizer and manufacture face shields.

Together, we marshaled an incredible statewide response and in so doing we showed the nation, and the world, what it means to be ‘Maryland Strong.’

After confronting a threat unlike anything we have seen in our lifetimes, each day now brings us closer to a return to normalcy and we can finally see that light at the end of the tunnel. But as we do, we resolve never to forget any of the 7,748 Marylanders who have been taken from us by this deadly virus, many of whom couldn’t even have their loved ones by their side when they passed.

To their sons and daughters, their brothers and sisters, their mothers and fathers and all of their loved ones we know that we cannot bear as you do the unimaginable burden of their loss. But we grieve with you and we resolve to keep each of you in our hearts and in our prayers.

We resolve to honor the healthcare heroes and first responders whose incredible sacrifices saved us from losing far more of our fellow citizens. The citizens of our state will be forever grateful.

And we resolve to have renewed faith and confidence in the blessings of freedom that we share and the everyday parts of life that we should never again take for granted. We know that we can never reclaim the time we have lost  over this past year but each of us can make the days ahead count that much more.

Tonight we are reminded in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.”

May our love for one another light our path forward because we truly are all in this together. We will get through this together and we will emerge better stronger and more resilient than ever. 

At this time, I would ask all Marylanders to join me in a statewide moment of silent prayer in memory of all those we have lost.