RADCLIFF, Ky.— After several months of waiting for honors, families of veterans gathered at Kentucky Veterans Cemetery in Radcliff to give one final salute to those who served our nation as COVID-19 continues to grip our nation.
For months, Kentucky Veterans Cemetery has stood silent because the military had suspended funerals with full honors for veterans, amid the pandemic.
Evelyn Jenkins is a widow of veteran Harris William Jenkins Senior and tells Spectrum News 1, “I just miss him, his presence, more than anything.”
Due to social distancing concerns, limits were put into place for families that resulted in veteran burials being put on hold.
“It’s been very painful without the final closure. He has a lot of loving friends and family who were not able to participate with the actual burial because of the restrictions. They were not able to be at the hospital during his last days,” explains Jenkins.
Evelyn Jenkin’s husband, Pfc. Harris William Jenkins Senior died of complications from heart disease on March 22. Jenkins served during the Vietnam War and was a recipient of the purple heart.
“That Harris was at peace with what was happening. He was aware of the COVID, he was aware of the restrictions, he was aware of what we were not going to be able to do to honor him.”
Harris was a giving man through and through.
“Harris was always a person that he would give of himself, but he expected it back. He was an only child and he enjoyed telling everybody that he was an only child. With that his expectations were very high," said Jenkins.
Now families are being granted a chance to gather and mourn. Jenkins and 64 other families have been waiting eight long months for their loved ones to make it to their final resting place.
“We are grateful for their service. Freedom is not free. We are free today because of the service of the great men and women that we recognize and lay to final rest here today. We ask the Lord to give them eternal rest and that he gives you peace in their passing,” explains a guest speaker at the event.
Tuesday, the cemetery gave full honors and a ceremony to anyone who did not receive it during the pandemic, in an honorable way every veteran deserves.
“We mourn their loss and we honor their service. They fought our wars and they preserved our peace in faraway lands and at home and Garrison. They lived an uncommon life, under a common banner, a love of their country and a service to a cause greater than themselves,” adds the guest speaker.
“March until now, a long time coming, but I felt that he’s relieved now because it’s finally the closure is there, it’s finally occurred, says Jenkins.
The widow is now encouraging people to reach out to family and friends in this time of uncertainty.
“If you have had a grudge or something unsettled you need to resolve it, let it go. Life is just too short and you need to learn and everyone needs to learn to just appreciate things for now.
Jenkins leaves behind a wife, four children, and several grandchildren.