Public memorial in Milwaukee honors all COVID-19 victims

Posted at 5:30 PM, Mar 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-01 18:30:26-05

MILWAUKEE — Nearly 2,000 flowers arranged into a heart rest outside the Milwaukee Art Museum to honor those who have died from the coronavirus.

It's part of the Floral Heart Project. It's a country-wide flower arrangement memorial for a national day of mourning for COVID-19 victims. There are 85 cities participating. In Milwaukee, Scott Rusch, who was raised in Mequon, put together the Milwaukee heart-shaped flower memorial.

"Flowers are a great way to communicate emotions. They just touch our souls. They touch our hearts, and humans are just drawn to them," Rusch said.

It took about four hours to put together and will available to the public until Friday barring any bad weather. The flowers aren't anchored into the ground. They sit on top of the pavement on the opposite end of the art museum's bridge.

Scott Rusch
Scott Rusch organized the flower arrangement outside of the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Rusch said flowers can mean so many different things to different people. That's why he thinks they are a great symbol for a memorial.

“See the hearts reflect, grieve, process the last year and how COVID has really impacted all of our lives," he says.

A steady stream of people visited the memorial throughout the day.

“The more we can try to come together as a community and as a people during this time the better," Lisa Sarnowski said.

Inside the memorial is an 'M' for Milwaukee. Flip it upside down, and it's a 'W' for Wisconsin. It symbolizes that this memorial is for everyone and anyone.

M for Milwaukee
The large M in the middle of the heart stands for Milwaukee, but also Wisconsin when you flip it upside down.

“Cause everyone matters. We all matter, and we are all in this together," Sarnowski said.

As we approach one year of the pandemic, it's important to reflect on the past and those we have lost. However, it is also important to remember a brighter future is ahead of us.

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