Rural Oklahoma Community Pauses To Remember Victims Of COVID-19

Tuesday, January 19th 2021, 10:20 pm
By: Clayton Cummins


Across the country, cities and states paused to remember lives lost to COVID-19, from New York, L.A., to Chicago where the skyline went dark Tuesday evening. 

But we know COVID-19 has no boundaries. 

Flags and a memorial tree are now mainstage in Anadarko’s Unity Park. It will stay that way through the end of the week. 

City leaders hope it is a sobering visual of a pandemic that does not discriminate. 

The display is also to honor those working the front lines of the pandemic. 

“We think it is important to pause and remember and we hope today’s ceremony allows people to see the affects that it has had right here,” said Anadarko City Manager Kenneth Corn. 

Forty-three American flags have been placed into the ground to represents the 43 lives lost in Caddo County. Along with some of them are white flags, representing Anadarko city residents. 

COVID-19 has hit many in rural Oklahoma especially hard. The numbers are one thing but seeing is believing. 

“That is why we placed the flags in the park, we lit up the tree and rang the bell 16 times,” said Corn. “Just so there is a visual, so that they can hear it, so that they know there are people in their community who are hurting because of this disease.” 

Anadarko City Councilmember Patrick Redbird knows that hurt all too well. Four of the American flags anchored into the ground are for the four family members he lost in just two weeks. 

“Lost a brother, (an) auntie, and another brother within a week of each other,” said Redbird. “Buried my father-in-law today, so that was within two weeks that we got the notification of all of our relatives.” 

It’s easy to believe there is no control in a pandemic to this magnitude, but Anadarko city leaders said that’s not true. 

“There needs to be less flags. There needs to be less bells ringing,” said Corn. “What we need to do is all love one another, wear our masks, social distance, and do our part.”