Over 610,000 white flags will be placed on the National Mall grounds in Washington, DC to honor American lives lost to COVID-19.
The exhibit, named “In America: Remember”, is a participatory installation where visitors are encouraged to decorate a white flag in remembrance of someone they lost during the pandemic. Participants can also decorate a flag virtually and be featured on the exhibit’s website. The virtual portion of the installation is already operating online. From September 17th through October 3rd, the public installation can be found near the Washington Monument.
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Maryland artist Suzzane Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg created her first version of the installation in October of 2020. With the help of the public, she planted over 250,000 flags in RFK Stadium. This coming fall, she will plant the 610,000 flags and create 3.8 miles of paths within the field. According to a press release, this will be the largest participatory art installation on the National Mall since the AIDS Quilt.
In 1987, the quilt was installed for the first time with nearly 2,000 personalized panels commemorating lives lost to the epidemic. In a statement, Firstenberg said, “For one in three American families, there is no normal. This exhibit honors all who have died, but it is more than an act of remembrance. In America: Remember, will provide an historic visual reminding us for years to come that being an American means caring for all Americans.