Detroit is accepting photos of COVID-19 victims for memorial drive along Belle Isle next month


A rendering of tribute boards along Belle Isle for Detroit Memorial Day on Aug. 31. - COURTESY OF THE CITY OF DETROIT'S OFFICE OF ARTS, CULTURE, AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
  • Courtesy of the City of Detroit's Office of Arts, Culture, and Entrepreneurship
  • A rendering of tribute boards along Belle Isle for Detroit Memorial Day on Aug. 31.

In Michigan, more than 6,397 people have died of coronavirus since March, with 2,790 of those deaths in Wayne County. The city of Detroit, which made national news as an early hotspot for the virus' devastation, has said goodbye to 1,475 residents.

On Thursday, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan declared Aug. 31 as Detroit Memorial Day to honor those residents who lost their lives to the virus. The day will be commemorated by a two-day celebration of life, concluding with a citywide "Spirit Drive," where people can pay their respects via large photo boards, as submitted by the community, that will be placed along the route.

Ahead of the Spirit Drive, seven Detroit districts will hold twilight ceremonies at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 30. The memorial will begin at 7 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 31, at which point mourners will be assigned drive times after reporting to the staging area on Jefferson Avenue. At 8:45 a.m., southeast Michigan residents are asked to ring bells for 15 minutes to honor those lives lost. The drive will begin at 9 a.m. and will conclude at 4 p.m. when the island closes.

According to a press release, cars will not be permitted to stop along the route or pull off and park. Instead, they're urging residents to return home to watch the city's televised firework display — postponed from June and closed to the public. Many popular viewing areas throughout the city, including Hart Plaza and Belle Isle, will remain closed to prohibit large gatherings.

Those who wish to submit photos of the deceased may do so by July 31 by emailing [email protected], or by digital upload, which can be done by visiting or Photos may also be sent by mail addressed to Detroit Memorial 2020 P.O. Box 21761 Detroit, MI, 48221 CC: Rochelle Riley. People will be given the photo boards to take home following the memorial.

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