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'This is a battle' Remembering COVID-19 victims on Memorial Day

"We all had hope that by Memorial Day this would be over, and it's not."

ROCKVILLE, Md. — In a Rockville neighborhood, it looked and sounded like a usual Memorial Day celebration with people waving American flags as a bugler played, “Taps.”
 
However, this ceremony was much different from prior years along Barkwood Drive.
 
"We all had hope that by Memorial Day this would be over and it's not,” the organizer, Paula Sweeney said.
 
Sweeney decided to host a ceremony in front of her house and she roped in neighbors to help get it organized.

"We celebrate the good events and the bad events together,” Sweeney’s neighbor, Ed Hutman said.
 
For this event, they left an invitation, a bag and an American Flag on everyone's doorstep telling them where they should meet Monday night, but this wasn't just about honoring fallen heroes from past wars.

They took the time to remember those who are currently suffering because of COVID-19.
 
"This definitely is a battle. A battle against an unseen enemy,” Hutman said.
 
"The soldiers in this particular battle are doctors, nurses and EMT workers and the grunts, us, the grocers. We are all doing our part,” Sweeney added.
 
Sweeney said there are many health care workers on their street and people with relatives who are infected with the coronavirus.

For that reason, she said it was tough to ignore the present and a virtual gathering didn't seem appropriate. "We were all, in this neighborhood, many of us, tired of Zoom. It's not real, it's not reality."
 
Sweeney said a gathering was only one way to uplift her neighbors. "We are stronger together and America and the world will bounce back, but we have to not be terrified of it. There is life after this. There will be life after this.”

Some neighbors, who are considered at-risk for contracting the coronavirus watched as well from their living room windows. 

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