DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Downtown Dallas buildings were lit amber Monday night, March 1, in honor of those touched by COVID-19.

Dallas is one of more than 140 cities supporting an effort to declare the first Monday in March “COVID Victims and Survivors Memorial Day,” commemorating the more than 500,000 American lives lost to COVID-19.

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Downtown Dallas (credit: Russ Showen – CBS 11)

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March 2020 was the month that the COVID-19 pandemic officially spread to Dallas. Mayor Johnson on March 11, 2020, announced the cancellation of the 2020 St. Patrick’s Day Parade. And on March 12, 2021, Mayor Johnson declared a local state of disaster after evidence of community spread had emerged in Dallas County.

As of Monday, more than 513,000 people had died of COVID-19 across the country, according to the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine. Nearly 3,000 of those deaths have been in Dallas County.

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“We have had more Americans die of this virus in a year than the number of American soldiers who died in combat during all of World War II,” Mayor Johnson said. “We should take today to look back at what this country and this city have lost since last March, and we must commit ourselves to doing what it takes to end the COVID-19 pandemic’s carnage.”