COVID victims honored as Kentucky surpasses 10,000 virus-related deaths


LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56/WKYT) – State leaders, religious leaders, health care workers, and others gathered at the capitol rotunda on Sunday afternoon for a memorial ceremony to honor the more than 10,000 Kentuckians who have died of COVID-19 during the pandemic.

“The number of Kentuckians lost to COVID is approaching the total number of our people we lost in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined,” said Gov. Beshear. “Right now, more than 10,000 of our neighbors are gone, and their loved ones are hurting, missing them, preparing for their first or second Thanksgiving with an empty seat at the table.

“Our war against COVID is different in many ways from the wars fought by our brave soldiers,” he continued. “But to achieve our ultimate victory, we must have the same urgency, unity and dedication to one another.”

A Morehead doctor also spoke at the ceremony, as did Jacqueline Woodward, who lost her husband of 45 years, Gary, to the virus. She said the heartache, pain, and grief are beyond words.

“Today is a bittersweet day as we come together to honor the memory of all of those who lost their loved one to COVID-19. Ten thousand. How overwhelming a number and how devastating a time it has been for so many,” Woodward said. “I am here today not only for my family and me but also for all the families that have lost loved ones across the state of Kentucky. Those loved ones and I will forever have a bond that will connect us, as we move on the new journey of life together – remembering the loved ones that meant so much to us and gave so much to Kentucky.”

At the ceremony, Gov. Beshear also announced that Amanda Matthews, an artist and CEO of a Lexington-based company, has been commissioned to create the permanent Team Kentucky COVID-19 memorial, which will be located on the capitol grounds.

As the battle against COVID-19 continues, Gov. Beshear this week again encouraged those eligible to get booster shots to increase immunity.

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