Rose Hills COVID-19 Tree Memorial Unveiled
Honoring Those Lost Due to the Coronavirus
Like the rest of the U.S., Southern California continues to see lingering effects of the COVID 19 pandemic. To comfort families of those lost to
coronavirus, the Rose Hills Memorial Park (Whittier, Calif.) worked together with BrightView to build a COVID-19 memorial. With more than 1,600 Rose Hills families directly affected by the illness, organizers felt a need to create space for the community to take comfort in knowing they are not alone.
On March 22 members of the Southern California community, the Mayor of Whittier, the Rose Hills team, along with BrightView Landscapes, came together to memorialize lives lost due to the coronavirus, unveiling the Rose Hills COVID-19 Tree Memorial.
The memorial offers a space for reflection and for the community to feel a connection to those who lost their lives to COVID. The memorial is lined with white flags that serve as a symbolic purpose of representing a COVID 19 victim laid to rest at Rose Hills and the practical purpose of marking a path for visitors. Ten Crepe Myrtle trees, which were donated by Everde Nursery and BrightView, are set along the flag-lined pathway and represent the social distancing that has been one of the defining feature of worldwide response to the illness. Trees also symbolize new beginnings and growth.
“Having BrightView as a partner for many years at Rose Hills, we knew they would be the best fit to create an appropriate space for this memorial,” said Antoinette Lou, Director of Community Relations & Communications, Rose Hills Memorial Park & Mortuaries. “Remembrance trees at the memorial were discussed and BrightView helped to amplify the project with the idea of socially distancing the trees to represent the past year.”
The trees are a spot for families and visitors to hang weatherproof cards with messages to those lost. BrightView Landscapes donated their design, procurement, and landscaping services for the memorial.
“This tree memorial at Rose Hills is a powerful, living tribute to those we have lost and BrightView is honored to donate our expertise in partnership with SCI to this moving tribute,” said Po Chen, BrightView Vice President and General Manager. “We designed the landscape to represent growth, chose trees representing strength, and distanced them to provide visitors with the space for private reflection.”
Rose Hill Memorial in Whittier is the largest cemetery in North America, encompassing more than 14,000 acres. In addition to the new COVID-19 memorial, there are more than a dozen dedicated lawns for religious, ethnic, and fraternal organizations, including more than three acres memorializing U.S. military veterans. The cemetery also is home to Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Columbarium, the largest Buddhist pagoda in the United States, as well as lush Japanese gardens.
“The unveiling event was made even more memorable with Rose Hills dedicating a card to one of our fallen team members who tragically passed away due to COVID-19,” Chen said. “While this loss is unimaginable, our team is grateful for this wonderful partnership solidified with this memorial.”
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