U.S. flags on Capitol grounds memorialize Kentuckians lost to virus

BY TOM LATEK

KENTUCKY TODAY

A total of 3,301 American flags were placed on the Capitol grounds on Friday, to honor all of the Kentuckians who have lost their lives due to the coronavirus.

Gov. Andy Beshear described the event as another sad milestone in the war against COVID-19.

“The flags are a memorial to commemorate the passing of a sad toll of Kentuckians who we have lost to this evil virus. Back on March 6, when the first case of the coronavirus was confirmed here in Kentucky, few of us could imagine what a staggering and heartbreaking loss we would experience.”

He noted the increase in deaths has been at a breathtaking pace. “It took us six months, from March to September, before we lost 1,000 Kentuckians. It took just three months, to early December, where we crossed 2,000 lost. From there, it took just a little over 30 days to reach 3,000 Kentuckians killed by this devastating virus.

Beshear said the ceremony was not being held to simply mark a number. “Remember, these are real people, these are our people, we lost way too soon. They are our parents and grandparents, our spouses, our siblings, our friends and neighbors, and in some cases, even our children.”

He told those on hand that his faith teaches him that these 3,301 are all children of God. “Each one matters, and the loss of each of these Kentuckians is irreplaceable. Every flag you see out here today represents a real Kentuckian. One who was loved by their family and their friends, who meant something to the community that they lived in. Every single one, every loss, is heartbreaking.”

Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman also spoke on the loss of so many Kentuckians.

“In a state as tight-knit as ours, one loss is too many… 3,000 is devastating. That’s 3,000 families, 3,000 loved ones, 3,000 unimaginable tragedies; leading to grief that will likely never subside.”