By Mayor Curtistene S. McCowan
[On May 25th], I took part in a Memorial Day Remembrance Service at DeSoto’s Military Memorial at Nance Farm that was organized by our Veterans Affairs Committee. I deeply appreciate the commitment of all of our Veterans and am honored to serve as the City Council’s representative on the Veterans Affairs Committee.
While I love attending Veterans events, Memorial Day events are a little more difficult because they hit me on such a deep level. When you think about those who gave everything to keep us safe, and the painful void that their absence caused their families and friends, it’s hard not to be deeply moved.
And as I reflected on our sacred war dead last Monday, I couldn’t help but feel the same type of emotions for all of the medical professionals, first responders, and front line workers who have recently perished simply trying to do their jobs and get us through one of the most punishing times in our history. I also thought of our vulnerable seniors and residents of all ages and walks of life who suffered and died in isolation and died without the comfort of their loved ones due to this highly contagious and deadly virus.
I also felt a tinge of guilt while remembering all of these wonderful individuals who fell victim to COVID-19, because I was doing so on a day traditionally reserved for our hallowed war dead. So it is both fitting and appreciated that national faith leaders and my colleagues at the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) have dedicated this coming Monday, June 1st, to both grieve for and honor those taken from us by the Coronavirus plague that has changed all of our lives forever.
[June 1st] will be the first “National Day of Mourning and Lament” which will allow us to pay our respects, offer our condolences, and embrace the American spirit of love and unity that has been so challenged as of late.
As a sign of respect and devotion, City properties in DeSoto will be lowering their flags to half-staff and I ask that any businesses or residents who regularly display the flag consider doing the same. The lowering of a flag denotes both mourning and remembrance, and those who have been taken from us so suddenly deserve such homage.
Since gathering en masse could only compound the dangers that we face, I would like to ask all of you to stop at some point during the day on Monday to think of those who we have lost and to honor them by reaffirming our commitment to our community by taking the simple steps that can help to protect us all until this awful cloud of death has passed.
Please avoid crowded gatherings and places if you can. If you do face a crowded situation or need to ride on public transportation, take precautions. Wear a mask or face covering, maintain a safe distance of six feet or more whenever possible, continue to thoroughly and frequently wash your hands, and please don’t touch your face.
Remember, these actions are done to protect our family, friends, and neighbors in addition to ourselves.
May God embrace all of those who have succumbed to this silent killer, and may he protect and unify all of us who remain so that we can care for one another, combine our strength, and move forward together to restore the life and vitality of our great city.
Curtistene S. McCowan is the mayor of DeSoto, Texas.