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Flag memorial on National Mall is powerful tribute to lives lost from COVID-19

Many of the flags include personal messages to lost loved ones.
/ Source: TODAY

A moving memorial in Washington, D.C., is honoring the hundreds of thousands of lives lost to COVID-19 in the U.S.

The flags are planted across the 20 acres of the National Mall. Al Drago / Getty Images

The “In America: Remember” art installation, created by Maryland artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg, includes more than 660,000 white flags planted across the National Mall.

The installation will be open until Oct. 3. Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images

Each flag represents a person who died from COVID-19. Many of those who have lost a loved one have personalized their flag with handwritten tributes.

Many of the flags included personal notes honoring loved ones who have died.Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images

People unable to visit the National Mall in person can visit the “In America” website to write a virtual message, which will then be handwritten on an actual flag by a volunteer and planted at the memorial.

The installation as seen from the top of the Washington MonumentAl Drago / Getty Images

A map on the installation’s website also allows you to click on individual flags in the memorial and see the messages handwritten on each.

“In a traditional sense, this art can be interpreted as a memorial. In scientific terms, it is large scale data visualization. Experienced in totality, it will be the physical manifestation of empathy,” Firstenberg said in a statement.

The installation includes a count of people in the U.S. who have died from COVID-19. Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images

This is the second “In America” memorial commemorating lives lost during the pandemic. In October 2020, Firstenberg installed more than 260,000 white flags across four acres at RFK Stadium in Washington to represent the number of lives lost.

That exhibition “ran out of space due to the mounting toll,” organizers said in a statement.

As of today, more than 670,000 people in the U.S. have died after contracting the coronavirus, according to The New York Times.

The “In America: Remember” art installation opened on Sept. 17 and will be open for public participation until Oct. 3.