Several years ago I discovered Findagrave. It came out of my interest in genealogy. Volunteers like myself tramp through cemeteries and set up memorials from the headstones to honor those who have gone before us. Sometimes we know them, oftentimes we don’t. But we don’t want their memories to disappear.
Today I came across a few headstones for the Chiappe and Carniglia families at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery here in San Diego. I’m not entirely certain how, but these two families are related to each other. What caught my were four memorials:
- Jiacomo Carniglia January 17, 1884 – December 14, 1918
- Angelo Carniglia June 29, 1861 – December 17, 1918
- Federico Chiappe April 27, 1882 – December 18, 1918
- Rosie Chiappe October 28, 1913 – December 24, 1918
They ranged in age from 5 to 57 and all four died in the span of 10 days. Given their age and the proximity of their dates of death I think we can safely assume they all died in the 1918 Flu Pandemic.
Over a century later we find ourselves in the face of another pandemic. But we also find ourselves surrounded by people who believe it’s all a hoax and we don’t need to socially distance or wear a mask.
Don’t listen to them. Instead listen to the voices of those who died within 10 days of each other in 1918.