By Tom Lateck
A ceremony was held at the State Capitol on Saturday, to mark the one-year anniversary of Kentucky’s first case of COVID-19 and to announce that a permanent memorial will be created to honor all those who lost their lives during the pandemic.
“We are gathered here today on the grounds of the Capitol to mark this solemn occasion,” Governor Andy Beshear said, “with deep reflection on the costs of this war against COVID-19. A war that continues, even though victory is now in sight.
He told the crowd, “We are here to honor the thousands of Kentuckians lost to this diabolical virus and to offer our respects and hopefully some comfort to their families, to their grieving communities. We are also her to honor the many sacrifices our long battle has demanded of all of us, day after day after day.
The governor promised that in this war there would be no unknown casualties.
“The Kentuckians we lost to the coronavirus will never be forgotten, ever. And we will continue to honor them by finishing this fight and winning a complete victory over COVID-19 this year. »
He recalled that Friday, March 6, 2020 started off as a beautiful day.
“I can still see it in my mind, I can still feel it in my body. In Frankfort, it was one of those beautiful first sunny days, the kind you rarely get in March, which suggests a wonderful Kentucky Spring with all its promise of life and renewal, just around the corner.
Beshear said he left the Capitol a little early that day to spend some more time with his family. “That’s when I got the call that changed everything. Kentucky had recorded its first case of the new coronavirus. »
He noted that the news was not unexpected. “Washington State and New York had been hit hard, and more and more cases were popping up in other states surrounding Kentucky. But everything is different when war comes to your doorstep and war comes to our doorstep.
The Governor said his promise when COVID arrived remains today. “This Commonwealth will continue to fight aggressively until this virus is defeated.”
He announced the establishment of a fund, “which will help develop a permanent memorial to those we have lost in this war right here on the grounds of the Capitol. This monument will represent the Kentuckians we have lost and commemorate the sacrifices that we have suffered during this once-in-a-century pandemic. This memorial will pay tribute to our solidarity which has allowed us to survive this ordeal.
He said a website will soon be created so Kentuckians can contribute to the memorial fund, once ice storm and flood relief efforts are complete.
After the ceremony, family members who lost loved ones planted small American flags joining the more than 4,800 on the Capitol grounds, each honoring someone lost to the coronavirus.