Governor Cuomo Directs Flags to Half-Staff and State Landmarks Lit in Honor of Essential Workers who Lost Their Lives to COVID-19


Flags Will Remain at Half-Staff and Landmarks Will Remain Lit for Memorial Day

Governor Cuomo: “It takes a special person, when every instinct in your body says, that’s dangerous, don’t go there run away, it takes a special person to say, no, I’m going in because I think I can help someone. And the essential workers did that day, after day, after day, after day, every day, walking into the fire, not knowing, God forbid, am I getting infected? God forbid, am I getting infected and then bringing it back home to my child. Nurses, doctors, hospital staff, teachers, food delivery workers. All these brave people, bus drivers, Subway drivers. I stand up there every day and I say, stay home, be safe, stay home. Don’t go out, keep your kids home, stay in. But not you. You’re an essential worker. You have to go to work tomorrow so everybody else can stay home. And they did.”

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed flags on State government buildings to be flown at half-staff and state landmarks to be lit red, white and blue on Sunday, May 30 to honor the essential workers who lost their lives due to COVID-19. Flags will remain at half-staff until noon and landmarks will remain lit on Monday, May 31 for Memorial Day in honor of the service members who lost their lives fighting to defend our country.

  • The landmarks being lit include:
  • One World Trade Center
  • Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge
  • Kosciuszko Bridge
  • Carl McCall SUNY Building
  • State Education Building
  • Alfred E. Smith State Office Building
  • New York State Fairgrounds – Main Gate & Expo Center
  • Niagara Falls
  • Grand Central Terminal – Pershing Square Viaduct
  • Albany International Airport Gateway
  • The Lake Placid Olympic Jumping Complex
  • MTA LIRR – East End Gateway at Penn Station

VIDEO of the Governor’s remarks is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.

AUDIO of today’s remarks is available here.

A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks is available below:

My last point is this. It’s Memorial Day, and we remember those who gave their lives on Memorial Day, gave their lives for this country, fought for freedom, because freedom isn’t free. I also think we should remember this past year on Memorial Day, remember the 42,000 New Yorkers who died. 42,000. Remember the 1,000 essential workers who died giving their life, giving their life. Seasons change, but memories have to remain, lessons have to remain.

Remember how frightening COVID was when it started. Remember how frightened people were. They wouldn’t come out of their homes. Walk into a hospital during COVID and it was like you were landing on outer space. People covered with garb, head to toe, face shields. You couldn’t even see a person’s eyes or face. They wore name tags with pictures in the hospital, just so the patient could see some humanity. Nobody knew how it spread. Nobody knew how really it was transmitted. And you had people who showed up every day to fight that disease. It takes a special person to run into a fire to save someone. It takes a special person, when every instinct in your body says, that’s dangerous, don’t go there run away, it takes a special person to say, no, I’m going in because I think I can help someone.

And the essential workers did that day, after day, after day, after day, every day, walking into the fire, not knowing, God forbid, am I getting infected? God forbid, am I getting infected and then bringing it back home to my child. Nurses, doctors, hospital staff, teachers, food delivery workers. All these brave people, bus drivers, Subway drivers. I stand up there every day and I say, stay home, be safe, stay home. Don’t go out, keep your kids home, stay in. But not you. You’re an essential worker. You have to go to work tomorrow so everybody else can stay home. And they did. And they did. You want to talk about brave or you want to talk about courage? You want to talk about selflessness? You want to talk about that question in your mind? What would you do? If the circumstances ask you to really stand up and put your life on the line, what would you do? Would you stand up and run into the fire, or would you walk away?

They walked into the fire every day, and we owe them a profound, profound, thank you. We went from the highest infection rate on the globe in New York, on the globe, to the lowest infection rate, and we saved tens of thousands of lives, because there were no people on this planet, like the people of this state. And they showed their character, and their strength, and their courage, and their unity. And remember them and their families on Memorial Day. Thank you and God bless.