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Families of COVID-19 victims encouraged to take flag from memorial at Ky. State Capitol to remember loved ones

Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 10:25 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - If you drive by the Kentucky State Capitol, you’ll see thousands of American flags. Each one honors a Kentuckian who died from COVID-19.

The temporary memorial is being taken down this week, and families of the victims are able to pick up a flag to remember their loved ones.

“That’s powerful to see them all, to see that many of them,” said Stephanie Smith.

Each of them tell a story of a Kentuckian lost to COVID-19, like Bill Cannon, who died in October.

“He was a true family man. He loved his family, he was a proud Air Force veteran, served in Vietnam, faithful friend,” said Smith, Bill’s daughter.

Bill is one of over 7,200 Kentuckians who have died from the virus. To his family, Bill isn’t just a statistic. He’s a father, a husband, and a grandfather missed every day.

“I never had any idea. I thought he was just going to the doctor and he was coming right back home. It was like a shock in a way,” said Doris Cannon, Bill’s wife.

Since Bill died, an American flag has been on display at the Capitol in his memory. Just like for the more than 7,200 others who have died. But now, that flag is with his family, as Governor Beshear’s office is encouraging families of victims to come by and take one to keep.

“I just hope that when people saw them, and when people see them in history as we go on in years, that when they see those memorials they remember each of these lives,” Smith said.

It’s a sobering reminder of the Kentuckians we’ve lost, and the heartache their families still face.

“It was not an easy death… It was just sad,” Doris said.

The flags will be up until Thursday, July 15. If you want one, but can’t get to Frankfort in time, you can call constituent services at the Capitol at (502) 564-2611.

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