More than 660,000 white flags have been placed on the grassy lawn at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. as a touching tribute to the American victims who lost their lives to COVID-19.
The exhibition of flags covering more than 20 acres of the National Mall represents every person in the U.S. who has died from the disease, Roll Call News reports.
MOVING TRIBUTE to victims of COVID-19 "It's really hard to think about the grief that is just embodied by one flag & when as you walk amongst 660,000, it's unimaginable the pain that people have gone through," says artist @inamericaflags behind #InAmericaRemember exhibit pic.twitter.com/bpgPLnlYf6
— George Thomas (@GTReporting) September 17, 2021
The initiative was started last year by artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg, who worked with volunteers to exhibit 267,000 flags in the same area. This year's number of flags has more than doubled.
"We will keep adding flags every day," Firstenberg said. "I just ordered another 20,000."
The flags are placed in the form of geometric shapes, creating nearly 3.8 miles of walkway. Firstenberg hopes that visitors will walk through the paths and reflect on the moving display.
"I wanted to have enough pathways, where people could wander the paths privately for their own quiet reflection," she said, "so people would have plenty of special spaces where they could plant their personalized flags."
The project, entitled "In America: Remember," will remain on display through Oct. 3, 2021.
People can dedicate a flag to someone who was lost to COVID-19, either in person or online.
"Once you take one flag and think about all the grief that is embodied by that flag, then you lift your gaze. That's the power of this art - understanding the immensity of our loss," said Firstenberg, adding that the flags are meant to resemble the headstones at Arlington National Cemetery.
It took the artist, along with a team of volunteers, days to install the thousands of flags by hand.
Firstenberg said the public's response has been overwhelming.
"I was just so intent on planting all these flags and making people understand, that once people began laying on top of my art their own grief and experiences, it became truly overwhelming," Firstenberg said.
To find out more about In America: Remember, click here.