COVID-19 memorial dedicated on Kentucky Capitol grounds

Posted at 7:43 AM, May 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-25 07:43:47-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — A once-in-a-century pandemic took the lives of more than 18,000 Kentuckians.

At a memorial dedication on the Kentucky Capitol grounds, those lives were remembered and celebrated on Wednesday.

“There’s no one here today who hasn’t been affected in one way, shape, or form from this pandemic,” said Dr. Jason Smith, chief medical officer at UofL Health.

Along with Smith, state leaders spoke on the obstacles faced throughout months of uncertainty, mandates, shutdowns, and more.


A new art installation allows people to reflect on that time of grief and fear and the hope that often followed.

The memorial – titled “United We Stand. Divided We Fall.” – was designed and sculpted by Kentucky native Amanda Matthews.

Matthews told the crowd that she tried to capture Kentucky’s visual symbols and state motto while showcasing the diversity of Kentuckians.

The design and concept were approved by a community advisory panel spearheaded by Governor Beshear.


“While we managed to get through so much loss, this scale is something we’re going to be living with and processing for years to come,” said Beshear. “That’s why we made the decision to build this memorial, because I wanted everyone who has lost something to this virus to know their loved one is important and they are missed.”

The sculpture can be found in Monument Park on the Capitol grounds, serving as a constant reminder of the loss and hope of the pandemic.