Covid Memorial: A Gift for America
By September 30, 2021 0 547•
Photos by Jeff Malet
“In America Remember.” begs the sign with numerals that change regularly and continue to awaken, annoy, amaze those who walk amid the increasing amount of tiny white flags pushed into the grass and dirt, this time in the shadow of the Washington Monument at Constitution Avenue and 15th Street.
As one approaches this sacred ground, for a moment it looks like a snow-frosted scene or simmering lake. Yet it is the souls of those taken from us by the Covid-19 pandemic that inhabit and enlighten, along with their lost loves, this vast, temporary scene. It takes your breath away but touches the heart. It gives those with deep, personal loss a space and time to grieve. It allows many of us to pause — surrounded by these white pieces of memories and messages — and say a prayer for those fallen to Covid and for America. It will be dismantled at the end of this Sunday.
We first met artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg of Bethesda outside the D.C. Armory, where her “Public Art Installation Honoring Loved Ones Lost to COVID-19” at the end of October 2020 displayed the death count at 230,000.
“Innocent victims. That’s why I decided on white flags to honor them,” Firstenberg told us then. She also has experience as a hospice volunteer. And now she has given her fellow Americans a memorable and timeless gift. With all the hurt, could there be healing? Together?
Today, with its non plus ultra weather, the sign reads more than 690,000. “In America: Remember” runs through Oct. 3.