Flags at half-staff Friday to honor victims lost to COVID

American flags placed on the Capitol grounds serve as a temporary remembrance of each death from COVID-19 in Kentucky. Artists native or affiliated with the state are encouraged to submit their ideas of how to create a more lasting tribute. (Kentucky Today file photo)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Gov. Andy Beshear has directed that the flags at all state office buildings be lowered to half-staff from sunrise until sunset on Friday in honor of all the Kentuckians lost to COVID-19, including the more than 30 educators and K-12 school employees.

 

This tribute, announced by his office on Thursday afternoon, coincides with the funeral of a 29-year-old Jenkins Independent Schools teacher and the interment of a Lee County educator, the third person from that school system to die from COVID-19 in the recent surge of the virus.

 

This is not the first time for this observance, as the Governor previously lowered the flag to half-staff for a week after Kentucky suffered its first 100 losses of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Early during the pandemic, and as a sign of compassion and healing, the Governor’s Mansion was lit green following the third reported COVID-19 death in Kentucky.  Shortly thereafter, the dome of the State Capitol was lit green and has remained so each night, ever since.

 

The Kentucky State Police Honor Guard placed a wreath in the Capitol Rotunda to mark the loss of the first 150 Kentuckians to the virus and again to mark the loss of 1,000.

 

A large wreath with green lights was placed on the front of the Capitol when the state reached 2,000 Kentuckians lost to the virus and this past January, more than 3,000 flags were planted on the lawn of the Capitol to commemorate all Kentuckians who had been lost at that time.

 

To date, more than 8,000 Kentuckians have died due to COVID-19 and plans are currently underway to develop a permanent memorial on the grounds of the Capitol.  The dedication of that memorial is expected to take place in March 2022.

 

Gov. Beshear is encouraging all individuals, businesses and organizations throughout the state to join in this tribute on Friday.

 

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