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Monday, November 15, 2021

Gov. Andy Beshear announces construction of permanent COVID-19 Memorial

IMG provided. 

Yesterday, Gov. Andy Beshear held a memorial ceremony for the 10,214 Kentuckians lost to COVID-19. First Lady Britainy Beshear, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, religious leaders, health care heroes, the Lindsey Wilson College Singers and the Kentucky State Police Honor Guard also took part in the service.

“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.”

At the conference, he also encouraged all eligible vaccinated Kentucky adults to get one of the three COVID-19 vaccination boosters – Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – to increase their immunity and help bring the COVID-19 pandemic to an end.

During the ceremony, the Governor announced that 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, which will be located in Monument Park on the Kentucky State Capitol grounds.

A COVID-19 Memorial Advisory Panel, which included health care heroes, family members and loved ones of those lost and COVID-19 survivors, selected the final design for the memorial.

“As a Kentucky native, Amanda’s pride and compassion for the people of the commonwealth and for the struggles so many have faced during the pandemic shine brightly from her personally and through this work,” said Gov. Beshear. “This piece will be expertly crafted, illustrating Kentuckians’ willingness to come together for each other during this pandemic.”

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

Rendering of the memorial. Provided. 

The memorial will feature ADA accessibility design, including visual, audible and tactile as well as symbolic images on bronze discs. It will also be encircled by lights that will first glow green when the sun sets, to symbolize empathy and compassion for the Kentuckians we have lost throughout the pandemic.

The Governor said health care partners including Norton Healthcare, Baptist Health, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, King’s Daughters Health System, UofL Health, UK Healthcare and Pikeville Medical Center are sponsoring the new monument, which also is supported by donations to the Team Kentucky COVID-19 Memorial Fund. All donations are tax-deductible.

“All of us – whether or not we’ve lost someone close to COVID – have been forever changed by these times,” said Gov. Beshear. “I believe that, in order to fully move forward and embrace the opportunities we see opening up across this commonwealth, we must give full respect to this moment in history that has tried us in ways few could have imagined just two years ago.”

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