KENNEBUNK – The Brick Store Museum invited community members to join them in a project to bring light to the community during the pandemic.

Museum staff asked people to put a light in their window, to stand together, figuratively, in the face of the pandemic and thank those providing essential services.

“Light a (electric-powered) candle, string light, lamp, or any kind of light in your window each evening at dusk … through the end of this pandemic,” suggested Brick Store Museum Director Cynthia Walker. “Let’s all come together over our thanks – and show what community is all about. Whether you are on the front lines to serve or staying home to slow the spread: we are in this together – and we’ll see it through to the end.

“Essential workers – health care workers, grocers, first responders, child care workers, utility technicians, school staff, custodians, truck drivers, defense personnel, and so many more – are putting themselves at risk to protect, serve and provide for our community and our nation. Let’s thank them.”

People did.

“My candle is in the window,” said one poster on social media.

“And bring hope to every one, mine is up,” wrote another.

“We are shining bright on Beachwood,” a resident wrote.

Walker pointed out that the Brick Store Museum’s mission is to be the spark that ignites personal connections to local history, art and culture. She noted that America has a long history of placing a light, flag, or other object in our windows to signify national solidarity.

“Dating back to colonial times, candles in the window signaled a welcome to travelers; during the Civil War, it was a beacon to war-weary sons to find their ways home,” she said. Still today, families of service members hang blue or gold star flags to signify their loved ones are far from home. In 2001, community members hung American flags of all sizes from their windows, doors, and flagpoles to come together after incredible tragedy.”

Others, elsewhere, are taking similar steps.

In Raleigh, North Carolina, families have been lighting the night in another way, string up Christmas lights, according to the News & Observer. The practice has sprung up across the country through social media.

And in Paris on March 25 people in large cities and small villages in France put lights in their windows and rang church bells to recognize those caring for those fallen ill from the COVID-19 pandemic and to remember those who have died from it, according to the Associated Press.

Walker noted that it is OK for people at home to feel a range of emotions, from isolation to anger, sadness or fear.

“One of the most important things history can do is to help us recognize we are a part of something greater than ourselves; that none of us are alone in our experiences,” she said. “We can join together and do something to increase the morale of our entire community.”

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