MEMPHIS, Tenn. – – Dozens of people gathered at Crosstown Concourse Tuesday night to attend a memorial service for Shelby County residents who have died from COVID-19. That total is more than 2,000. 

“My mom contracted it while she was in a nursing home and passed away,” Mack McCaul said.

“This is a way to say collectively we remember and we remember the people that have died,” Verlinda Henning said. “It’s a way to start a healing process.”

The memorial service was organized by Church Health and was conducted by local clergymen who preached messages of hope.

“As one community of faith may we draw strength in knowing that the same biblical letters for darkness, hosha, also spell the word for dawn,” Rabbi Micah Greenstein with Temple Israel said. “There will be a new day.”

Joshua Narcisse is with Church Health. He says many people haven’t had a chance to say a proper goodbye.

“One of the odd things about the pandemic is that it has disrupted so many of the rituals that we use to make sense of the tragedy in our lives,” Narcisse said. “The ability to go to a funeral.”

Health officials hope the dawn is coming as the infection rate in Shelby County declines. Currently, more than 400,000 residents are fully vaccinated.