Support for local heroes lights the Atlanta skyline

Fireworks shot through Midtown at 8 p.m. Sunday to support medical professionals and essential service workers as they headed off to their night shifts in Atlanta hospitals. 

Overlooking the street from their apartments, Atlanta residents cheered and rang cowbells to support the heroes in their community. Many posted videos of their celebrations on social media, resulting in more people outside of Atlanta taking part as well.

Living near Emory’s Midtown hospital and grocery stores, David D’Onofrio and his partner Paul Schramm witnessed the fireworks tribute in Midtown and cheered on essential service workers alongside their neighbors. 

“This little action, once a day at 8 p.m., helps us to reconnect with our neighbors and feel like we’re doing something, even if it’s very little, to say, ‘Thank you,’ to health care and essential service workers for risking their health to ensure we are all safer,” D’Onofrio said. “It’s nice to imagine that some of their staff may be able to hear the hundreds of people (and growing) cheering from their balconies.”

D’Onofrio and Schramm feel that the virus has taken a toll on the community they are used to experiencing in Atlanta. This daily event has helped with the feelings of isolation that many are feeling during quarantine.

“We no longer have the countless little daily encounters with neighbors and friends — running into people at the grocery store, hanging out with soccer teammates, happy hours and visiting family,” D’Onofrio said. “While the main purpose of this daily event is to thank healthcare and essential service workers, it’s been a great way to have a little moment of community each day.”

During one night of celebration, D’Onofrio and Schramm connected with their upstairs neighbors for the first time. 

“We’ve never actually met them, so it was nice to say, ‘Hi,’ and make plans to hang out in a couple of months,” D’Onofrio said.

D’Onofrio spoke about how he has seen many people reaching out to support workers during this time, including donating to relief efforts, people being kinder to grocery store workers and people in their apartment collecting food donations for vulnerable people.

At the same time as the fireworks in Midtown, the Marriott Marquis in Downtown lit up its rooms in the shape of the heart, which could be seen by Georgia State students like Nayel Padilla living at The Mix.

Padilla posted the picture from Sunday night on Instagram with followers commenting on the encouragement that they have seen in the city since the crisis began.

Other residents have been posting little acts of kindness that they see, even while in quarantine. One East Atlanta resident posted a picture on the Atlanta subreddit of a basket of homemade hand sanitizer on their neighbor’s fence with a sign asking passersby to take some.

There are far more acts of encouragement that Atlanta residents are witnessing and posting on social media every day. Even in a time of crisis, Atlanta still finds a way for its community to thrive.