Monday's Capitol ceremony honoring 115 Missouri workers killed while on the job in 2021 was a touching and appropriate memorial.
The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations holds the Missouri Workers' Memorial Day ceremony each year. This year, it featured a proclamation from Gov. Mike Parson, a poetry reading, a performance by the Lincoln University choir and remarks from state workers.
The event honors workers who died from workplace injuries. That includes those who died from COVID-19. Angeline Stanislaus, chief medical director with the Missouri Department of Mental Health, said the past two years have been difficult due to pandemic deaths.
"Communities grow and bond when we share acts of kindness toward each other, and they die when we live isolated lives," Stanislaus said. "Let's experience the rest of 2022 as a new beginning and fill it with hope and resilience. Let's share our pain and experience growth in love and kindness."
Family and friends of those fallen workers were given a copy of Parson's proclamation, a dogwood tree seedling and an American flag that flew over the Capitol.
Parson said public servants sacrifice for people they will never know. He said he's struggled himself with the loss of employees, colleagues and loved ones.
"I'll be honest with you, I feel like I've been to too many funerals since I've been governor," Parson said. "But, I will also tell you this, I'm honored every time I go and I can represent the state of Missouri and be able to tell people how proud I am of the people that serve this state and give everything for it."
In addition to honoring fallen workers, Parson's proclamation rededicates the state to improving safety and health conditions in Missouri workplaces. Honoring fallen workers is important, but we must not forget to continue to strive to prevent the deaths in the first place.