Zionsville Lions Club Creates Ribbon Memorial for Victims of COVID-19
Photography / Provided
It’s a death toll that, unfortunately, continues to rise, and has since 2020. To most, the numbers are just that — numbers. But those numbers, 12,800 (and rising), represent each Hoosier lost to the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the Zionsville Lions Club wanted to start a senior services committee, chaired by Dick McKeller, member Donna Fisher and her husband shared an idea for their first project. While on a trip to Florida in January, the couple saw an art installation on the beach where more than 29,000 colorful ribbons were hung from end to end, the length of two football fields. In Florida, in one year alone, more than 29,000 lives were lost to COVID-19. Fisher and the Lions Club wanted to bring the concept to Indiana.
“It’s a number you see every day, and it grows every day,” Fisher says. “You become number to it and you stop associating that number with people.”
In the months leading up to the debut of the Indiana installation, senior members of the Zionsville Lion’s Club, as well as other community members, met weekly. Together, they cut strips of pastel-colored plastic — starting first with 12,400 then working their way to more than 12,800 by the event’s debut.
“Every ribbon represents a person that has died from COVID-19 in Indiana,” Fisher says. “Unfortunately, that number grows every day.”
Ropes and cords were cut to 12-foot lengths, with links on each end, to allow for easy installation and disassembly. The ribbons are then hung from tree to tree throughout the park, creating a continuous rainbow and flutter of colors and memories.
“We hope that, when you look up and realize that all of those ribbons represent people, maybe it hits home and you don’t forget the sheer magnitude of this loss,” says Fisher. “This was our idea to just remember our loved ones.”
Fisher says that no additional ribbons will be added while the art piece is on display, but more ribbons can easily be added for future displays as the need deems.
The display debuted on Memorial Day at Lions Park with a dedication ceremony and will stay on display until right before the July 4 weekend. The Zionsville Lions Club invites communities from around Indiana to share in the memorial display, opening the availability for communities and other Lions Clubs to borrow and display the piece at a location of their choice for a limited time.
The Lions Club hopes that community members see this as a way to remember their loved ones that were lost and that it will help with the healing.
“A lot of what happened in the last year, with all the people that passed away, there were no funerals and there were no visitations, or, if there were, they were very limited,” says Fisher. “We felt this would give families and friends a chance to come together and remember together.”
Visit the Zionsville Lions Club COVID-19 Ribbon Memorial any time before July 4 at Lions Park, 115 South Elm St., Zionsville.