Sunday, November 14, 2021

At memorial service for 10,000-plus Covid-19 victims, Beshear announces artist and reveals design of permanent memorial

Artist's daytime conception of memorial designed by Amanda Matthews (copyright holder of images)
Artist's conception of memorial at dusk
At a memorial service for the 10,000-plus Kentuckians whose deaths are attributed to Covid-19, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that Lexington sculptor Amanda Matthews will create a permanent memorial at the state Capitol.

Artist's conception of memorial at night, with
Capitol dome and wreath lit green in background
An advisory committee that "included health care heroes, family members and loved ones of those lost and Covid-19 survivors, selected the final design for the memorial," said a news release from Beshear's office.

“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 will be titled "United We Stand, Divided We Fall," the state motto, which will appear on a chrome globe supported by a tree trunk surrounded by abstract human figures holding smaller chrome balls. It will be built in an area that Beshear has designated as Monument Park, at the right front of the Capitol grounds, near the vehicular entrance.

The news release said it will "commemorate Team Kentucky’s losses and sacrifices since March 2020 and remind future generations of the challenges Kentuckians overcame – together." Beshear has used the "Team Kentucky" slogan from his 2019 election campaign to encompass various efforts of his administration, including the memorial.

The memorial will be circled by lights that will glow green when the sun sets, to symbolize empathy and compassion for Kentuckians lost in the pandemic, and will be traditionally lit as night falls.

Matthews, artist and chief executive officer of Prometheus Foundry, has received commissions for several major projects, including the statue of pioneering Black journalist Alice Dunnigan in Russellville and a New York City women's memorial now under construction. In May 2020, Beshear appointed Matthews to the state Oral History Commission.

Beshear said major hospital firms 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, along with other donors to the memorial fund. He did not reveal the cost.

“All of us – whether or not we’ve lost someone close to Covid – have been forever changed by these times,” Beshear said. “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.”

At the memorial service, held in the Capitol due to cold, windy weather, Beshear noted that the death toll is nearing the number of Kentuckians lost in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined. “Our war against Covid is different in many ways from the wars fought by our brave soldiers,” he said, “but to achieve our ultimate victory, we must have the same urgency, unity and dedication to one another.”

Others who spoke at the service were Dr. Philip Overall of St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead; Jamar Wattley, a nurse at Baptist Health La Grange; and Jacqueline Woodward of Franklin, who lost her husband, Gary Woodward, to Covid-19 and was on the memorial advisory panel.

“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,” Woodward said. “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.”

Overall said, “Together we gave everything that we had for the men, women and children of the commonwealth. Together we held their hands, prayed with them, gave them hope and worked tirelessly to give them the best care possible. Even during the darkest days of this pandemic, even during the peak of the surges – we stayed together. Let us remember that it is that unity that will see this through and find us united as we work to put this battle behind us.”

No comments:

Post a Comment