COVID-19 memorial

COVID-19 White Flag Memorial Installation Comes to an End on National Mall

Some who attended the memorial on its last day said they wished it could stay longer, and hope there will one day be a national COVID-19 memorial at the Washington Monument.

NBC Universal, Inc.

A ceremony on the National Mall Sunday marked the end of a COVID-19 memorial — a sea of small white flags, each representing a life lost, illustrating the enormity of the pandemic. 

The 700,000 flags stood in the shadow of the Washington Monument for more than two weeks for the "In America: Remember" installation. 

Joyce Cottrell and her family were among the thousands who walked the rows.

“Because if you are at the Arlington National Cemetery, you see how many soldiers have lost their lives defending us. And then you come here and you see all these flags -- people died from Covid," she said.

As the death toll continued to rise, those who lost loved ones to coronavirus were invited to dedicate a flag in their memory. 

The installation is the second of its kind. Last fall, there were more than 267,000 flags placed near the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium. 

Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg is the local artist who created the installation.

"Those who’ve come to write on flags, they've told me repeatedly, 'We feel like we're no longer alone.' They realized that all this time they were grieving in isolation -- they have a lot of company," Firstenberg said.

Some who attended the memorial on its last day said they wished it could stay longer, and hope there will one day be a national COVID-19 memorial at the Washington Monument.

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