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WASHINGTON DC: A display of 650,000 white flags, one for every American who died of COVID-19, was installed on the National Mall in Washington DC

The flags cover an area of ​​over 20 acres.

Last year, artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg installed more than 267,000 white flags in Washington, one for each person who died in 2020 from COVID-19 in the United States.

This year, the number of flags and victims has risen to 650,000.

“When the numbers are so big, it’s really hard to figure them out, so I physically wanted to do that number as a visual artist,” she told Reuters.

Some of the flags will have a written message on them from loved ones.

“Taken as a whole, it’s a physical expression of empathy,” Firstenberg said during the opening ceremony on Friday.

The exhibition, entitled “In America: Remember”, will run until October 3, 2021.

The display is made up of 43 sections of white flags and 3.8 miles of walkways, as well as white benches that allow visitors to reflect.

Plus, individuals can bring a personal flag to a lost loved one, in person or online.

“Once you take a flag and think of all the heartache caused by that flag, then you raise your attention. It is the power of this art to understand the immensity of our loss,” Firstenberg said.

She said the audience response was both emotional and motivated.

“I was so interested in planting all of these flags and making people understand that once people started putting their own grief and their own experiences on my art, it got really overwhelming,” Firstenberg said.

This year’s exhibit is designed to give Americans the opportunity to reflect on the human tragedy caused by the coronavirus pandemic.