HAMILTON — One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, and the tragedy of loss almost feels normal.
Hoping to inspire a moment of reflection in his community, one Hamilton resident has transformed his yard into a COVID victim memorial.
American flags are rooted in the ground of one man’s yard in a quiet neighborhood just off the main strip in Hamilton. They remind those passing through that the root of the country’s problem isn’t a political division, but a deadly disease.
“It's not an academic debate, and people need to realize that, and people need to say ‘yeah, real human beings are dying’,” said Hamilton resident Fidelis Temukum.
Back in mid-October, Temukum came face to face with the virus.
“I have a large family and everyone in my home had COVID, and it was a situation that was a little bit stressful because I was worried about the children, I was worried about my wife, I was worried about my adopted daughter that has a pre-existing condition,” Temukum told MTN News.
Temukum and his family did recover, “Praise God that we came out, we came out of that crisis victorious.”
But over 500,000 Americans didn’t have the luck his family had, and that reality is hard to stomach.
“Some birthdays will never be celebrated again. Some children will never get to hear their dad or their mom say ‘I love you' And it’s so, so heavy,” Temukum said.
A pastor at Cornerstone Church in Hamilton, Temukum leans on his faith, especially in times like these. He’s prayed a lot for victims of the pandemic, but he felt the call to do something tangible.
“I thought about what I can do outside of praying for those who have died from COVID. I thought about that a lot,” Temukum recalled. “And I decided with my family that we can plant some flags to honor them.”
A total of 500 little American flags now line his yard. It’s a patriotic gesture with a simple goal.
“They need to know that somebody cares about them, somebody is praying for them, somebody is thinking about them,” Temukum said. “Because the toxic level of politics has made the whole thing so inhumane, people don't even care about the next neighbor that is dying."
“And so, somebody needs to step up and say, we know you are going through this and we are praying for you and you're not alone,” Temukum concluded.
You're invited to take photos of the flags or stop by to simply reflect at 171 Bayberry Lane in Hamilton.