‘Each light represents a life lost to COVID-19′: Orlando couple’s Christmas light display memorializes COVID-19 deaths

ORLANDO, Fla. — An Orlando couple decorated their home with hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights to memorialize those who lost their lives to COVID-19.

The display is impressive and dozens of people visit the home each night, but there’s a reason why they put up so many lights this year: each light represents someone lost to COVID-19.

It’s always a debate when to decorate: right after Thanksgiving or to wait until December.

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Frank Boyce and David Nubar are those people who decorate right after Thanksgiving.

“We’d all eat and get fat,” said Nubar. “Then we come out and throw the switch.”

But this year, the decorating began way earlier than usual. “We started October 1,” Nubar said. “People just needed a reason to be excited and get some happiness and smiles back in their life with what we’ve gone through this year.”

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When Nubar was decorating back in October he said, “I got this, like, ‘Pow!’, and I went inside and I just stopped putting the lights up. I wrote on my notebook and I wrote that sign. And I cried like a baby,” he said.

The sign says, “We have placed 220,000 plus lights on our home. Each light represents a life lost to COVID-19.”

“All these people are passing, and we’re just watching the numbers on TV and we’re numb to it,” he said.

The display breaks that numbness and puts the number of lives lost into perspective.

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“We decided to memorialize the COVID victims and brought them all back to light,” Nubar said.

The family unveiled the display when the U.S. recorded 220,000 coronavirus deaths, but with each passing day, more people are dying.

A few weeks ago, Nubar and Boyce said a woman came to tell them how he appreciative she was of the display because her mom was trying so hard to fight off the virus.

“Then she came back two days later and she came up to our driveway and said mom passed today,” Nubar said.

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It tore at their hearts, but that woman told them their display was helping her heal. And while there is so much sadness behind every bulb, Nubar and Boyce are accomplishing their original mission.

“Everybody was craving to smile, to you know, to make them fulfill that gap we feel inside,” said Boyce. “It makes me so happy. I just love it so much.”

There’s no doubt it’s been a tough year. Scientists are predicting that by the end of 2020, thousands of more Americans will have died from the virus.

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“People will remember because we say never forget them. And we don’t forget tragedies,” Nubar said. “We don’t forget Pulse. We don’t forget 9/11. We don’t forget any of that. So maybe they won’t forget this. We memorialized it.”

Every night, the memory of our country’s coronavirus victims shines brightly on the couple’s Central Florida front yard.

The couple turns the lights on every night at around 6 p.m. at 2811 Clemwood Street.

Katlyn Brieskorn, WFTV.com

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.