I.At the commemoration ceremony for the victims of the corona pandemic, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on people to talk about pain, suffering and anger. “Since the beginning of the catastrophe, we have been watching infection rates and deaths every day, watching curves, comparing and evaluating,” said Steinmeier. That is understandable. “But my impression is that we as a society do not make ourselves aware often enough that behind all the numbers there are fates and people.” Their suffering and death have often remained invisible to the public. “A society that suppresses this suffering will suffer as a whole,” said the Federal President.
Steinmeier called for the social consequences of the pandemic to be taken seriously. “If we pause for a moment today, we will realize that the virus has shaken and wounded our society more deeply than we admit in everyday life. We realize how hard it is for all of us. ”Everyone felt worry and uncertainty, suffered from the restrictions. “But we have long known that the virus does not endanger everyone equally, and the restrictions do not affect everyone equally. Today we are thinking of those who were hit particularly hard by this crisis, ”said the Federal President in his speech following an ecumenical service. In addition to Steinmeier, five survivors of corona deaths as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel, Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble, Bundesrat President Reiner Haseloff and Federal Constitutional Court President Stephan Harbarth took part in the memorial ceremony. 80,000 people died of or with the corona virus in Germany, almost three million worldwide.
“There are no words for your pain”
The deceased were missing “in their families and friends, in the neighborhood, in the circle of colleagues, in our society,” said the Federal President. None of them would come back. “But they stay in our memory. We do not forget them. ”It tears the heart apart and makes“ infinitely sad ”to know that many people had to die without assistance or farewell. Steinmeier recalled that sometimes even relatives are not allowed to visit their loved ones in hospitals, nursing homes and hospices. “We think of everyone who at the moment of their death could not hear a familiar voice or see a familiar face. They had to die without one last tender word, one last loving look, one last handshake, ”said the Federal President.
Steinmeier thanked all the people who looked after the dying in hospitals and nursing homes, in pastoral care and in hospices until the very end. Steinmeier emphasized that they all risked their health in order to be there for others. Quite a few infected themselves with the virus at work, and some died. “Today we want to pay homage to them too. We bow with respect to their selfless commitment, ”said the Federal President.
Steinmeier also expressed his sympathy for the suffering of the bereaved. “There are no words for your pain. But we hear your complaint. ”Many tormented themselves because they could not help dying relatives on the last journey; that they even accuse themselves of having abandoned their loved ones. Others are burdened by the fact that they could not bury their relatives as they and especially the deceased would have liked. “Rituals of mourning give stability, give consolation and create meaning,” said Steinmeier, but in the time of the pandemic these rituals often could not have taken place as usual or not at all. “Many mourners found burials that could only take place in the smallest of groups as bleak.” The Federal President spoke about the fear of mourners that without a common memory their dead would disappear without a sound, that they would not live on in the memory of the families Circle of friends or the neighborhood. “May this day give all those who mourn an opportunity to speak about their loss.”
“Bright spot in dark times”
Steinmeier called for cohesion in society and warned not to get lost in blame. “Let’s gather strength again for the way forward, the way out of the pandemic, which we want to go and will go if we go it together. Let’s not allow the pandemic, which is forcing us to distance ourselves as humans, also drives us apart as a society! ”The pandemic has shown how much common sense and compassion there is in this society. Steinmeier described this humanity as a “ray of light in dark times”. “We will be marked by this pandemic time, but we will also grow with it. We will leave the pandemic behind! We will take a deep breath and live more freely again! We are on the way there. ”Scientists had developed vaccines in record time, and every day more people reached the safe shore thanks to the vaccination. “We will be close again as people and united as a society.”
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