The New Jersey Department of Health currently lists 30,131 deaths from COVID since the start of the pandemic two years ago.

A night a remembrance will be held in Wall Township on Saturday, March 19.

What started as a makeshift memorial on the beach in Belmar has been moved to a permanent home at the Allaire Community Farm.

Thousands of seashells and rocks with the names of loved ones lost to COVID were gathered in the shape of hearts on the beach in March of 2021 as candles were lit around them for the first memorial.

Facebook/Covid-19 Memorial Rami's Heart
Facebook/Covid-19 Memorial Rami's Heart
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Facebook/Covid-19 Memorial Rami's Heart
Facebook/Covid-19 Memorial Rami's Heart
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Facebook/Covid-19 Memorial Rami's Heart
Facebook/Covid-19 Memorial Rami's Heart
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Local artist Rima Samman started the memorial in memory of her brother, Rami, who died from COVID. In the sand of Belmar's 3rd Avenue beach, it grew to 2,00 names in less than two months.

It continued to grow in size until local officials worried it would be to hard to maintain or could be vandalized.

Moved to Allaire Community Farm last September, the Rami's Heart COVID-19 Memorial is the first permanent memorial in the nation.

Now with over 3,500 names, it serves as a reminder of the toll the pandemic has taken on so many families.

Those who have lost friends or family to COVID are invited to gather at the farm in Wall on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

Facebook/Covid-19 Memorial Rami's Heart
Facebook/Covid-19 Memorial Rami's Heart
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Samman posted on Facebook, "Join us as we honor those who passed and recognize those impacted by the loss. Families are encouraged to bring their loved ones photo to hold."

Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at eric.scott@townsquaremedia.com

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