Friday, March 19, 2021 marks the one-year anniversary of Vermont’s first confirmed fatalities to COVID-19. In the year since, we’ve lost over 215 of our fellow Vermonters and over 535,000 fellow Americans. These are not just numbers. Each and every one represents a human being, with families who loved them and friends and colleagues who cared about them. Each of them, in their own way, made their mark on those around them and in their communities.
While the commitment and dedication of all Vermonters and our collective hard work has kept fatalities lower than any state in the nation, we all know how tightly knit our communities are, and how profoundly a single loss can impact our cities, towns and villages. With a vaccination strategy that has prioritized saving lives, I believe we are at the turning point for such losses, and more hopeful days lie ahead.
On the 19th of every month since our first deaths, I have ordered flags to fly at half-staff in memory of the Vermonters we have lost to this pandemic, and to honor their lives and the loved ones they left behind. For this solemn anniversary, but with hope and optimism for the road ahead, by the authority vested in me as Governor, I hereby once again direct the flags of the United States of America and the State of Vermont to be flown at half-staff at the State House and at all state facilities and grounds this Friday, March 19, from sunrise (6:54 a.m.) to sunset (7:01 p.m.) and request that all Vermonters who proudly fly the flags of our state and nation to do the same.
Be it further requested, that all municipalities, courthouses, places of worship and others capable, ring their bells 14 times, representing the Vermonters lost in all 14 counties, from 7:00 to 7:01 p.m., as the sun sets and during the final minute flags are flown at half-staff.
Given under my hand and the Great Seal of the State of Vermont
on this 17th day of March, A.D. 2021.
PHILIP B. SCOTT