Coronavirus News: Art installation commemorates American lives lost from virus with planting of white flags

COVID-19 News and Information

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
Episode 3: New York on Pause
The novel coronavirus was just starting to show its teeth in New York and New Jersey as Winter turned to Spring. People were dying already, but we were only starting to feel the wave of death, anguish, and need that was heading our way.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Hundreds of thousands in the United States have died due to the coronavirus pandemic.

One artist wanted to help commemorate those American lives who have lost their battle with COVID-19 by creating a space for national mourning.

Washington D.C. native Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg's public art installation called "In America, How could this happen..." is a space reserved for the planting of white flags for every American who has died from the deadly virus.

Firstenberg said she was inspired to create the community art installation in August after hearing the remark that "170,000 deaths were just a statistic."

"My 25 years of hospice volunteering taught me every life is valuable, no death is just a statistic," she said.

The art installation's website says an estimated 240,000 flags were planted on the DC Armory Parade Ground (located in front of RFK Stadium) during the two-week participatory exhibition. Flags will be added daily as the death count rises.

Community members are invited to plant flags - and personalize them with names of lost loved ones - until Nov. 6 during open hours.

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