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Work is underway on the COVID-19 Memorial on State Capitol grounds, funded entirely by private donations

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Work is now underway at the grounds of the State Capitol on the COVID-19 Memorial that will honor those Kentuckians who have lost their lives to the disease during the pandemic.

During his weekly press conference, Gov. Andy Beshear said it’s important that we have such a memorial, as nearly 18,000 Kentuckians have died from COVID, and it will be a place where people can grieve.

“We have seen heroic efforts of so many people, including our healthcare heroes, all of whom deserve to be recognized,” he said. “This is a major traumatic but also historic event that we have all lived through together. To memorialize and to remember both the good and the bad is really important.”

Amanda Matthews’ rendering of the memorial

Kentucky native Amanda Matthews, artist and chief executive officer of Lexington-based Prometheus Foundry, has been commissioned to create the permanent Team Kentucky COVID-19 Memorial. It is being erected in Monument Park, which is located at the end of Capital Avenue where the loop around the Capitol building begins.

The memorial, titled “United We Stand, Divided We Fall,” will honor Kentucky’s losses and sacrifices since March 2020 and remind future generations of the challenges Kentuckians overcame together.

“I certainly hope that the next pandemic is 100 years in the future,” the governor said, “but it is important that we prepare people for the next time to do even better, to lose fewer people, and to keep that full sense of unity during the entire time that we battle something like this.”

A COVID-19 Memorial Advisory Panel, whose membership included health care heroes, family members and loved ones of those lost, as well as COVID-19 survivors, selected the final design for the memorial. It is being built entirely with privately raised funding, and no state money is involved.

It was hoped to have the dedication of the COVID Memorial in March 2022, but like everything else its construction was delayed due to supply chain issues.

“Our expectation is the memorial will be completed in the spring,” Beshear added, “and we hope maybe a little earlier.”

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