Delayed by pandemic, veteran memorial services help Kentucky families heal

By | November 11, 2020

With funeral services put on pause in early spring due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, families of dozens of Kentucky veterans had to say farewell from inside their cars at a limited-attendance ceremony.“During the onset (of the pandemic), we were not able to have a ceremony and it was just so much of a pain to just drop him off here,” Lisa Cobb said. “We had to stay in the car and just pull off (when it was over). It was…it was… horrible and it was very painful for our family.”Cobb was speaking about her older brother, Marine Private First Class Howard Smith.He was one of 65 veterans who died during the early days of the novel coronavirus hitting the U.S., prompting several restrictions in Kentucky and other states.The tradition military rendering of funeral honors ceremonies were put on hold indefinitely – until Tuesday. Fort Knox partnered with Kentucky Veteran Affairs to organize four ceremonies which honored the 65 veterans.Cobb’s brother died on March 21 after complications days after a major surgery, family members said. Cobb said that the service, held at the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery in Radcliff, helped her with the grieving process.She came from Illinois and her father, also named Howard Smith, traveled from Colorado for the limited-attendance event.“He was quite the guy,” Smith said. “He was giving. He was my oldest son.”The ceremony included traditions, like the 21-gun salute, that made Cobb feel her brother’s service mattered, she said. The morning’s speakers thanked the families for their patience over the past several months.Major General Joseph Calloway said these veterans paid an extra sacrifice, postponing their final salute for the safety of others.“So much has been shut down,” Cobb said. “So much has been stopped, but you never stop serving. We never stop honoring our veterans — whether it’s a pandemic or not.”

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With funeral services put on pause in early spring due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, families of dozens of Kentucky veterans had to say farewell from inside their cars at a limited-attendance ceremony.

“During the onset (of the pandemic), we were not able to have a ceremony and it was just so much of a pain to just drop him off here,” Lisa Cobb said. “We had to stay in the car and just pull off (when it was over). It was…it was… horrible and it was very painful for our family.”

Cobb was speaking about her older brother, Marine Private First Class Howard Smith.

He was one of 65 veterans who died during the early days of the novel coronavirus hitting the U.S., prompting several restrictions in Kentucky and other states.

WLKY VETERAN

WLKY

Marine Pvt. 1st Class Howard Edward Smith was one of 65 Kentucky veterans rendered funeral honors Tuesday.

The tradition military rendering of funeral honors ceremonies were put on hold indefinitely – until Tuesday. Fort Knox partnered with Kentucky Veteran Affairs to organize four ceremonies which honored the 65 veterans.

Cobb’s brother died on March 21 after complications days after a major surgery, family members said. Cobb said that the service, held at the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery in Radcliff, helped her with the grieving process.

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She came from Illinois and her father, also named Howard Smith, traveled from Colorado for the limited-attendance event.

“He was quite the guy,” Smith said. “He was giving. He was my oldest son.”

The ceremony included traditions, like the 21-gun salute, that made Cobb feel her brother’s service mattered, she said. The morning’s speakers thanked the families for their patience over the past several months.

Major General Joseph Calloway said these veterans paid an extra sacrifice, postponing their final salute for the safety of others.

“So much has been shut down,” Cobb said. “So much has been stopped, but you never stop serving. We never stop honoring our veterans — whether it’s a pandemic or not.”

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