WPRI 12 News Washington DC Bureau

20,000 American flags placed near White House to remember lives lost to coronavirus


WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nexstar) — The coronavirus has killed more than 200,000 people across the country, making the U.S. death toll now the highest in the world.

That’s according to new data released by Johns Hopkins University Tuesday morning.

In Washington, D.C., a group of volunteers memorialized the lives lost by placing 20,000 American flags on the northeast quadrant of the Washington Monument facing the White House.

Each flag represents every 10 American lives lost to the coronavirus.

Carmen Wilke, a volunteer organizer, says because of the pandemic, many families weren’t able to hold a proper funeral.

“Having representation of them here shows that in the Capital we are thinking of them, we remember them, they will not be forgotten,” Wilke says.

On Tuesday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi planted the final flag. She says lawmakers need to work together to fight the virus, not each other.

“This was preventable. Not all of it, but much of it,” says Pelosi. “And what could be lost in the future is preventable too if we embrace science. Science instead of politics.”

Despite this, Elliot Vice, another volunteer, says it’s about remembering every lost American life.

“200,000 of our fellow Americans dead is something that we think people should really take some time to honor their lives,” says Vice.

The flags will remain in place through sunset on Wednesday.

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