JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL)- Beside a busy road, one local woman is making sure Northeast Tennessee residents who lost their lives to COVID-19 aren’t forgotten.

“I was watching the rising numbers and reading the growing list of obituaries and felt helpless and really numb by the numbers. And I wanted to find a way to make it more real,” said Jonesborough resident Marat Jean Moore.

For every COVID-19 death in Northeast Tennessee, Moore places a flag in the ground.

“Every single flag was planted with a prayer. Because that’s the way it ought to be,” she said.

The flag colors are vibrant, reflecting the lives of those they represent.

“Every single one of these people who are represented here had a rich story to tell,” said Moore.

Tuesday afternoon there were nearly 400 flags. Moore checks the COVID-19 death numbers each day from eight Northeast Tennessee counties – and adjusts accordingly.

“I planted nine more flags today,” Moore said.

The memorial is meant as a drive-by display for those coming down Spring Street. With the help of a few friends, Moore put up the flags over the weekend. She wanted it to be up before Thanksgiving for those grieving the loss of a loved one.

“And I just wanted the families to know that we want to honor each one, and have a place of healing,” she said.


Moore says soon there will be a line of white flags up as well. This will honor the healthcare workers who fought for every life. She plans to update the display into the new year, not knowing when she’ll stop.

“I hope not too many more flags,” she said.

For Moore, the memorial is a call to action.

“Our community can step up and be kind of the defensive line on this illness,” she said.