A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Ceremony at Capitol marks one-year anniversary of first COVID case, honors 4,800 lost to pandemic

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

A ceremony was held at the State Capitol on Saturday, to mark the one-year anniversary of Kentucky’s first COVID-19 case, and to announce that a permanent memorial will be established to honor all those who lost their lives during the pandemic.

“We are gathered here today on the Capitol grounds to mark this solemn occasion,” said Gov. Andy Beshear, “with deep reflection of the costs of this war against COVID-19. A war that continues, even though victory is now in our sights.”

He told the crowd, “We are here to honor the thousands of Kentuckians lost to this evil virus, and offer our respects, and hopefully some measure of comfort, to their families, to their communities that are grieving. We’re also her to honor the many sacrifices our long battle has required of all us us, day after day after day.”

Honoring 4,800 Kentuckians lost to COVID

The Governor pledged that in this war, there would be no unknown casualties.

“The Kentuckians we have lost to the coronavirus will never be forgotten, ever. And we will continue to honor them by finishing this fight and achieving full victory over COVID-19 this year.”

He recalled that Friday, March 6, 2020 began 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 early bright sunny days, the kind you rarely get in March, that 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 a little more time with his family. “That’s when I received the call that changed everything. Kentucky had recorded its first case of the novel coronavirus.”

He noted the news was not unexpected. “Washington State and New York had been hit hard, and more cases were popping up in other states surrounding Kentucky. But everything is different when the war arrives on your doorstep, and the war arrived on our doorstep.”

The Governor said his promise the moment COVID arrived, remains today. “This Commonwealth will continue to fight aggressively until this virus is beaten.”

He announced the formation of a fund, “Which is going to help develop a permanent memorial to those who we have lost in this war right here on the Capitol grounds. This monument will stand for Kentuckians we have lost and commemorate the sacrifices that we have experienced, during this once in a century pandemic. This memorial will stand in tribute to our togetherness that has allowed us to get through this.”

He said a website will soon be established so Kentuckians can contribute to the memorial fund, once ice storm and flood relief efforts end.

After the ceremony, family members who lost loved ones planted small American flags joining the more than 4,800 on the Capitol grounds, each of which honors a person lost to the coronavirus.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment