A proposal by state representatives from western Massachusetts to create a COVID-19 Remembrance Day to honor those who died, the thousands who battled the virus and its long-term effects, and essential workers on the front line of the pandemic response, deserves support by all lawmakers and the governor.

The resolution, H 4224, by Rep. Natalie Blais, D-Sunderland, and Mindy Domb, D-Amherst, wouldn’t create a holiday, but would designate a time to pause and reflect on what we have lost and what we’ve all been through.

“As of yesterday, Massachusetts now has 18,719 individuals who have passed away as a result of this virus and another 808,000 people who have reported to be infected with it,” Domb said this week. “We haven’t fully come to grips with that. But we also haven’t fully come to grips with our gratitude.”

A remembrance day would give us an opportunity to honor those who died and share our grief.

In addition, Domb said, if adopted, the day “gives us an opportunity to acknowledge the people who helped us get through this time,” and to show them our gratitude.

Blais and Domb asked the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight to support the idea, which would set aside the first Monday in March for the observance.

Blais said a constituent whose mother died of COVID-19 brought the idea of an official day of remembrance to her office, according to a report by the State House News Service. That constituent said the official designation “provides the space for our constituents to grieve, to heal and to express gratitude for those who have cared for us.”

Unlike Veterans Day or Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday — both of which are tied to specific events and dates on a calendar — it’s unlikely the “end” of the pandemic will be so clearly defined.

That makes it even more important for the Legislature to adopt COVID-19 Remembrance Day. We need this opportunity to take time to remember what we lost to this pandemic, and show our thanks to those who are helping us get through it.

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