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Heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition

Music To Play Large Role in Detroit’s COVID-19 Memorial

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Image credit: Jerome Vaughn

Monday’s memorial gives families a chance to honor the more than 1,500 victims of COVID-19 in Detroit. WRCJ-FM will provide the soundtrack for the event.

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More than 1,500 Detroiters have died from COVID-19. Because of safety protocols, many of their relatives were not able to attend a funeral on their behalf.

The City of Detroit is giving families a chance to have a funeral procession on Belle Isle Monday, where hundreds of billboard-sized photos of the victims have been set up. 

I’m so glad the city is doing this to honor these people that have been lost and also to give hope for all the rest of us as we carry on together.” — Dave Wagner, WRCJ

In an effort to allow all Detroiters to share the moment, WRCJ 90.9 FM is broadcasting memorial music during the event. Music host Dave Wagner and his colleagues put together the playlist. 

Wagner says he got involved after City of Detroit Arts and Culture Director Rochelle Riley asked the radio station to put together a soundtrack for the day.

Great music can be a source of inspiration, can be a source of comfort, can be source of hope,” says Wagner.

He says he hopes the event will bring an opportunity for all Detroiters to come together.

Wagner says, “I’m so glad the city is doing this to honor these people that have been lost and also to give hope for all the rest of us as we carry on together.”

Detroiters are asked to ring bells for 15 minutes beginning at 8:45 Monday morning. The memorial processions for families begin at 9 a.m. and will run until 4 p.m. 

Belle Isle will be closed to all other traffic for the day.

Click on the player to hear Jerome Vaughn’s conversation with WRCJ music host Dave Wagner.


Jerome Vaughn, News Director

Jerome Vaughn is News Director at 101.9 WDET. He joined WDET in 1992 to help chronicle Detroit’s comeback and let people around the world know the truth about his hometown.

jvaughn@wdet.org Follow @jvdet

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