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March In New York City Brings Out Many To Honor Loved Ones Lost To COVID-19 And Those Who Survived

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- On Saturday, relatives and friends of those who died from COVID-19 held a march across the Brooklyn Bridge to honor their memories.

They also expressed support for New Yorkers who battled the coronavirus and survived, CBS2's Dave Carlin reported.

Beginning their trek across the bridge were marchers who lost loved ones to the virus.

Carol McRitchie, a salon owner in Poughkeepsie, has a tribute to her mother tattooed on her arm.

Nancy McKenna died of COVID at the age of 70.

"I just thought that this was the right picture to use. It just really represents that these people are not just numbers. That's why they are faceless, because people don't know who these people are," McRitchie said.


Hannah Ernst of Parsippany, New Jersey is the artist who created the image that is on Richie's arm and the 16-year-old has also made 2,300 similar images. She was inspired to do so by her late grandfather, Calvin Schoenfeld, who was also an artist.

He was actively planning with his granddaughter an excursion to cross the Brooklyn Bridge, but he died before they got the chance.

So Ernst came up with a way to complete the journey, as she helps others.

"And doing it through art, I think is just the perfect way to pay tribute to him and I'm just grateful I'm able to," she said.

Ernst partnered with Rosie Davis, who is founder of Yellow Heart Memorial. On Saturday, she marched for her mom, Mary Castro, a retired nurse who died at age 75 in May of 2020.

"Mother's Day was the last day that I'd see my mom alive. She died five days later," Davis said. "Every birthday, we made sure that she had a crown and sash for her to wear on her special day. So today, that's why I'm honoring my mom with a tiara and sash."


The event is also a heartfelt shoutout to the survivors of COVID who are dealing with long-haul medical issues, Carlin reported.

"I know people who just suffer with maybe a minor cough compared to people who now have neurological issues, and it all just stems back to that main concept that a lot of people take the pandemic, they take COVID-19 and make jokes about it, and we are here today to prove that's not the case," Ernst said.

"There are so many people out there that do not have to go through what everyone here went through with a family member by just simply getting vaccinated," added Richard Calvache of Jackson Heights, Queens.

Participants said the steps they made Saturday were the first of many in this fight.

Editor's note: This story first appeared on August 7.

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