RADCLIFF, Ky. — Families of veterans who died during the coronavirus pandemic were able to see their loved ones receive military honors Tuesday.
"It doesn't matter if it's Army, Marine, Navy," Kentucky Veterans Cemetery Central director Chuck Heater said. "It's a veteran. That's what it is. They all have the same attitude, the same selfless service, sacrifice."
Fort Knox, the Kentucky Department of Veteran Affairs and Kentucky Veterans Cemetery Central worked together to bring back the families of 65 veterans to properly give their loved ones military funeral honors that were not possible due to the coronavirus pandemic shutdown earlier this spring and summer.
"Every one of them reacted with relief and appreciation," Heater said. "Some of them came to tears thanking us for what we were doing."
"Their selflessness, their service to their nation, their service to others and a last fitting sacrifice, they delayed something to which they were richly entitled for the benefit of others," Major General Joseph Calloway, one of the guest speakers, said.
For Pauline and Chris Edwards, Tuesday morning's ceremony at Kentucky Veterans Cemetery Central in Radcliff was a long time coming. Pauline's husband and Chris's father, Bill Edwards, died in March and was buried at the cemetery, but like many other veterans, was not able to receive his proper military funeral honors at the time due to the restrictions put in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
"He would have liked nothing more to have this done with this many other people," Chris said.
"It just kind of put a period at the end of the sentence," Pauline said.
Edwards, an Army veteran, also served for 30 years on the Hardin County Board of Education.
"He was always for the underdogs, the little kids that had the hardest time. He was always on their side," Pauline said. "I guess you don't have any trouble figuring out I was very high on him."
The cemetery held four ceremonies throughout the day to limit the number of people gathering together. Each ceremony included a reading of the names of those being honored, the playing of taps and a 21-gun salute.