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Southern Nevada joins others across US to honor COVID-19 victims

The city of Las Vegas lit its gateway arches on Las Vegas Boulevard and lights on Main Street a light amber color. Clark County illuminated the government center’s indoor rotunda.

The two jurisdictions were among the many communities across the U.S. on Tuesday afternoon participating in a request from the Presidential Inauguration Committee: a show of national unity and remembrance for the 400,000-plus people who have succumbed to the coronavirus in America.

The county’s rotunda featured 29 beams of light — roughly one for every 100 of the 2,873 people who have perished in the county.

During a 2:30 p.m. commemoration, scheduled to be in unison with requested remembrances throughout the U.S., county lawmakers urged the region to honor the lives lost but also to commit to the necessary steps to overcome the pandemic.

Las Vegan Daniel Scully, 69, in March was the first Nevadan with the coronavirus to die.

“I don’t think that any of us thought that we were going to be here 10 months later, but I do know that we have worked hard, we will continue to work hard as a community to help us get through this,” Commission Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick said during the county’s remembrance.

The county’s coronavirus death toll stood above 2,800 as of Tuesday, according to the Southern Nevada Health District, but Kirkpatrick said there was optimism about turning the corner as vaccinations continue to roll out.

And while Commissioner Jim Gibson said work remained to be done, he encouraged people to do their part to take the virus seriously and to get a vaccination when it is offered.

The pandemic became personal for Gibson when he lost one of his closest friends a couple of months ago, he said, as he called the 29 columns of light inside the rotunda a “stark reminder of the enormity of what has befallen us.”

“Our commitment is that we not just remember but that we are motivated to act in a responsible way that may bring us to a place where we’re really safe here,” he said. “That’s our hope.”

Violinists Wonyoung Na and Dmytro Nehrych, performing as Sweet Tone, played following the commissioners’ remarks.

Contact Shea Johnson at sjohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.

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