A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Beshear honors those lost to ‘evil virus’ during wreath laying ceremony at the state Capitol


By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

A wreath-laying ceremony outside the state Capitol on Monday, honored the 200,000 Kentuckians who have tested positive for COVID-19, and especially the more than 2,000 who have died.

Members of the First United Methodist Church Handbell Choir perform during a wreath-laying ceremony on Monday at the Capitol with Gov. Andy Beshear and his wife, First Lady Britainy Beshear. (Photo provided by Gov. Andy Beshear’s Office)

During his remarks at the ceremony, Gov. Andy Beshear said, “As we stand here today, COVID has taken 2,072 Kentuckians from us. These are our fathers and mothers, our brothers and sisters, our grandparents and our neighbors. We mourn each and every loss. Each special individual taken from us. We pray for healing, and we hurt for these families, knowing their lost loved ones likely died in difficult and lonely circumstances, separated from their families at their moment of passing.

“The evil virus even hampers our ability to properly mourn and bury them, adding to the overwhelming grief,” Beshear said.

The Governor said the lives lost were being honored with two symbols — one used since ancient Greece, the other more recently adopted — to memorialize the loss during the pandemic.

“First, a wreath hung by the KSP Honor Guard,” he said. “This is the third time, the third milestone for which we have hung such a wreath. Second, built into the wreath are green lights, the color of compassion and renewal.”

Beshear talked about the three waves of the virus that have struck Kentucky, just like the rest of the United States and the world.

“In March and April, we took steps to avoid the devastating initial wave of this virus that took the lives of over 14,000 New Yorkers,” he said. “We acted in July when southern states were hit by a second wave that took over 3,300 Texans and 3,600 Floridians in July alone. Now, we are in our third wave, our third great battle that we must win. It will, and it has taken sacrifice. It will, and it has been painful. But it is necessary. Actions are painful, inaction is deadly.”

The Governor also took a look into the future with a COVID-19 vaccine on the horizon.

“Today, we honor those we’ve lost, and we recommit to protecting our fellow human beings on what will be the final months of this battle. Through this difficult time, we’ve honored those lost and shared their stories.”


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