“Each Flag Has A Soul”

The October 23 story on NPR begins this way:

“Thousands and thousands of small white flags stand sentinel outside the D.C. Armory in Southeast, near RFK Stadium.  When the breeze blows, the flags ripple in unison like a vast troupe of dancers, swaying between the long shadows cast by the trees that line the armory parade grounds.”

The “D.C. Armory in Southeast” is the D.C. Armory Parade Ground located in Washington, D.C. near the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium:

The “small white flags” are a public art project by D.C.-area artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg:

The first flags are placed by the artist.

Each of the “thousands and thousands” of flags represents an American who has died of COVID-19.

The art project is entitled, “In America: How Could This Happen…”

The COVID-19 U.S. death count on Friday, October 23.

And as the death toll grows, so, too, will the number of flags, reaching an estimated 240,000 by the project’s end on November 6.

The flags are being installed with the help of dozens of community volunteers, some who have lost loved ones to COVID-19.  Members of the public are invited to visit during daylight hours to plant flags, which are available at the display, and personalize them with the names of lost loved ones.  

Visitors must wear face masks, and hand sanitizer is available at reception tables.

Firstenberg began to conceptualize the project in March, a few weeks into the pandemic.  Her vision was for an art installation that fully captured the magnitude of the public health crisis.

“This is public participatory art,” she says.  “I want the community to come plant flags right alongside me.  I want them to realize the importance of individual lives.”

And the community is coming – to plant flags…

To pray…

Because, as Firstenberg wrote in an Instagram post,

“Each Flag Has A Soul”

Instead of ending her project on November 6, if Firstenberg kept adding flags…

How many more flags?

How many more souls?

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