FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Since March, thousands of small American flags have covered the Kentucky Capitol lawn. Each one represents a Kentuckian who died from the coronavirus.
"On March 6, 2020, when the first case of covid was confirmed in Kentucky, few of us could've imagined the staggering impact and the heartbreaking loss that we would experience," said Governor Andy Beshear. "We've lost over 7,250 people."
The flags currently cover most of the Capitol's back lawn. They were meant to serve as a temporary memorial.
"It's reminded us each day - during the most difficult times of this fight - that what we're fighting for is very real," said Beshear. "It's the lives of the people around us."
However, Kentucky is moving forward on plans for a more permanent memorial. So, the flags are coming down.
For the next week, anyone who would like to have a flag from the COVID-19 memorial at the Kentucky Capitol in Frankfort may collect one from the Capitol grounds.
The remaining flags will be removed on July 16.
Kentuckians who have lost a loved one to COVID-19 can also request to have a flag mailed to their home.
"If a family member or loved one would like a flag but is unable to collect it, please contact our constituent services, and we'll be sending those flags to any family that lost someone," said Beshear.
People can contact the Governor’s Office of Constituent Services at (502) 564-2611.
As far as the permanent memorial goes, Beshear said 11 finalists have been selected to submit their proposals. Kentucky is creating an advisory panel to provide input on the memorial. The panel will consist of family members and loved ones of those lost to COVID-19, health care workers, first responders, and survivors.
To apply for the panel, visit TAH.KY.GOV