660,000 Lives Lost to COVID-19 Honored
With the U.S. tracking more than 600,000 deaths from COVID – 19 , an artist in Washington, D, C, went to work to honor and pay tribute to the lives lost around the country.
More than 600,000 white flags are now on display across 20 acres of grass on the National Mall. Each flag symbolizes the lives lost to COVID-19 in the United States and holds a written personalized message from loved ones honoring their memory.
The art installation entitled In America: Remember, was created by Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg, a Washington, D.C., social practice artist. Said Firstenberg, “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 and a team of volunteers had previously worked to post white flags on 4 acres near the RFK Stadium in fall 2020, planting white flags that mirrored the 270,000 headstones at Arlington National Cemetery.
As that exhibit was coming to a close on Nov. 30, Firstenberg knew the death toll from the virus would steadily increase and was already thinking ahead to her next project. “When the installation closed last fall, I felt very sad knowing that we were heading into a very dark winter and there would be many deaths to come,” Firstenberg said. Moved by the emotional response after her first exhibit, she began reaching out to the National Park Service in hopes of bringing her project to the National Mall.
“So many of these deaths happened in isolation without acknowledgement,” said Firstenberg. “When I had an opportunity to bring it to the National Mall, even though it’s an immensely greater task, there was no hesitation. I knew I needed to do it. “More than 660,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the U.S., and there have been more than 41 million confirmed cases. Unfortunately, the numbers for each continue to climb