More than a year since the beginning of the pandemic, city officials have installed a temporary memorial to honor local residents who died from COVID-19.

The memorial, titled Deep in Our Hearts: A Memorial to Lives Lost to COVID, is located downtown along the northwest borders of the future Civic Park at Hemisfair near the intersection of Market and Alamo streets. The project was a joint effort between the City of San Antonio’s Department of Human Services and the Metropolitan Health District involving the City’s Faith-Based Initiative, Compassionate San Antonio, and other community agencies and partners.

The hearts attached to a chain-link fence represent each COVID-19-related death in Bexar County – 3,457 as of Thursday. Officials encouraged visitors to bring permanent marketers, laminated photographs, and flowers to adorn the heart representing a friend or loved one who died.

A ceremony on Thursday to announce the memorial included local elected city and county officials. Among those in attendance was Councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia (D4) who lost seven family members to COVID-19.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg called for this installation to spread awareness of how we deal with future health crises.

“The work we do today will set the stage for how our children and grandchildren will cope with the next pandemic,” he said. “There will be others.”

In addition to remembering COVID-19 victims, the City also hopes to spread awareness of the need to get vaccinated against the virus. More than 1,000,000 people – more than half the county’s population – have been vaccinated with at least one dose.

The installation will be up for at least a month until construction of Civic Park at Hemisfair begins this summer, according to city officials.

This article has been corrected to accurately reflect that the memorial was a joint effort of the Metropolitan Health District and the City of San Antonio’s Department of Human Services.

Scott Ball

Scott Ball is San Antonio Report's photo editor and grew up in San Antonio.