‘It’s more than numbers’: Manhattan church remembers those who lost their lives to COVID-19


MANHATTAN, Kan (KSNT) – COVID-19 has taken thousands of lives across Kansas.

One of those was Rita Smith’s sister.

“I lost my sister to COVID last March, and we still have not been able to have a celebration of life for her, and then my best friend lost her husband just recently,” Smith said.

To honor those who lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, Smith created “Lights in the Darkness” memorial at the First United Methodist Church on Poyntz Avenue in Manhattan.

“We just felt like we needed some way to say these people are important to us. How can we remember them? How can we recognize that there are lives and not just numbers?” said Senior Pastor Barry Dundas.

The memorial consists of white flags that people can write names on and then place into the ground. The First United Methodist Church said everyone is welcome to take part in the memorial.

“I hope that people will concentrate not on what they can’t do, but what they can do during this time,” Smith said.

Although it might seem like this pandemic is coming to an end with thousands of Kansans vaccinated and case numbers falling, Rita Smith still wants people to be cautious.

“We still have a ways to go and it’s not over even though the vaccine is out and many have their second dose now, we still need to be cautious,” Smith added.

A somber reminder to be thankful for the people we still have and to hold onto the memories of those we have lost.

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