There are more than 670,000 white flags honoring Americans lost to COVID-19 that demand attention

There are more than 670,000 white flags honoring Americans lost to COVID-19 that demand attention

In October 2020, social practice artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg created an installation of 150,000 white flags outside of RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., to honor the Americans lost to COVID-19. Now, covering 20 acres of grass beneath the Washington Monument, Firstenberg has placed more than 670,000 flags for that very same reason. In America: Remember, is an art installation project. Firstenberg told NPR the enormity of the project was a compulsion, and not what she originally set out to do, “I didn’t purposefully start out to do a large-scale installation. My outrage led me,” she said.

The installation will run from Sept. 17 to Oct. 3, 2021, and for those “who cannot visit in person,” a website has been set up for them to dedicate a memorial message that will appear on our nation’s mall. It is a powerful piece of work and a stark reminder of what hundreds of thousands of deaths look like. Firstenberg says she was moved to action after hearing Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick ruminate about how grandparents needed to be willing to give up their lives in order to keep our economy humming along. “That really disturbed me. I just felt as though someone had to do something to make a statement that with all these people dying, we had to value each of these lives as well.”

Firstenberg says the toughest part of the project was that based on pre-delta predictions, she had originally ordered 630,000 flags and was forced to order 60,000 more as the numbers rose.

The sight of the flags is powerful, but there is more than just the imagery. There are real messages that bring home the fact that every single one of these white flags represents someone that was loved: a parent, a friend, a child.

A view from atop the Washington Monument:

Democratic Rep. Andy Kim of New Jersey posted detailed images of some of the messages he saw. Warning: It is heartbreaking.

I’m in the shadow of the Washington monument looking out at 676,286 flags on the day this pandemic became the largest mass casualty event in American history. I didn’t realize families of those lost wrote personal messages on flags. It hurts to read. Here are some.THREAD pic.twitter.com/kEfgQHZnb0

— Andy Kim (@AndyKimNJ) September 21, 2021

I remember reading about the 1918 flu when I was a kid in school. It seemed so far away in history. Felt like something that could never happen in modern times. I would think crazy that tragedies like that used to happen. But now we are living through something worse. 3/6 pic.twitter.com/URCkTvPEe7

— Andy Kim (@AndyKimNJ) September 21, 2021

2,078 of these flags represent people in my congressional district who died from Covid. To say they are missed is a drastic understatement. Families are still carrying deep pain. Many never got to say real goodbyes. We never want to go to another Zoom funeral again. 5/6 pic.twitter.com/WbNuwo3cxH

— Andy Kim (@AndyKimNJ) September 21, 2021

If you can get to DC to see this powerful installation, please do. The flags will be displayed until Oct 3. For those who can’t make it, I hope my photos give you a sense of its power. Think about those lost. Hold their memory close. Let prevent more Americans from dying.END pic.twitter.com/NxVT2w5EH2

— Andy Kim (@AndyKimNJ) September 21, 2021

And there is video.

Saw the photos and had to go see it myself. More than 670,000 white flags are flying on the National Mall memorializing victims of the pandemic. They’ll be out here through October. Stunning and tremendously powerful, sparkling in the evening sunlight. pic.twitter.com/aV8tYt41Ex

— Alejandro Alvarez (@aletweetsnews) September 18, 2021

People have written personalized messages to deceases loved ones on the flags pic.twitter.com/OaPgV2oRfn

— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) September 17, 2021

From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.

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