North Texans honor victims, survivors on COVID-19 Memorial Day

The Dallas skyline was once again lit up amber to represent the more than half a million Americans who have died from COVID-19.

However, the positive sign is vaccine distribution continues to ramp up and fewer people are in the hospitals.

The amber-filled the Dallas skyline Monday night as a unifying statement to recognize those who died from COVID.

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson signed a proclamation on March 1, making the day as COVID-19 Victims and Survivors Memorial Day. It’s something dozens of mayors across the country did as well.

Kaitlyn Urenda-Culpeper's mother died from COVID in El Paso last summer. She works with an organization called Marked by COVID. It’s pushing to make this day a national day of remembrance.

"It’s important to memorialize. That’s a huge and first step in prevention," she said. "We never want this to happen again. We don't want to be in a bio war, and this virus has put us in this position."

A small ceremony was held outside Quality Care Health Clinic in DeSoto. The Floral Project provided heart-shaped flowers for tributes around the state.

DeSoto Mayor Rachel Proctor spoke at the event.

"I have lost some of my clients to COVID-19. I own a childcare center in the city of Dallas, and we lost several of our parents to this disease that have children that we care for, so it has absolutely hit home," the mayor said.

As we approach the one-year mark when COVID-19 was officially labeled a pandemic, there’s some optimism about the fight against it.

Vaccine distribution continues to increase with a third vaccine being approved and delivered this week.

The state increased the vaccine allotment in Denton County by 7,000 doses. The same happened in Collin County.

Dallas and Tarrant counties have FEMA mega-sites catering to vulnerable populations. And the state re-allocated doses to the county health departments, something that didn’t happen last week.

While deaths continue to be reported, health officials caution that signs show the pandemic is taking a turn for the hopeful.

A bill for a national day of remembrance has already been presented in the U.S House and has some support from lawmakers in Texas.