Waving the White Flags in the Wake of the Pandemic

The National Mall is currently filled with over 660,000 white flags memorializing those lost to COVID-19.

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On the National Mall in Washington, DC, there is an artistic memorial installation titled “In America: Remember.” Over 660,000 white flags have been planted in order to honor and visualize every American who has so far died from COVID-19. This number surpasses the estimated loss of lives from the Spanish flu of over a century ago but, of course, the percentage of those who have died is much less in our time because our population is so much greater, which should remind us of the success of the vaccines and masking.

I have not seen it in person and it is only on display until October 3rd, but just looking at a photograph of them makes those numbers feel much more than just numbers. They do not seem to me to be like white flags of surrender, but of connection. It is as if the flags are waving goodbye, a necessary temporary gravesite that can remind us of the enormity of what has been lost. Like the loss of a loved one, we must adequately mourn our fellow citizens of all colors to be able to move on successfully as a society. Please take a minute to do so.

What COVID-19 memorials have you witnessed? Share your thoughts with PTEditor@MMHGroup.com.

Dr Moffic is an award-winning psychiatrist who has specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry. A prolific writer and speaker, he received the one-time designation of Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association in 2002. He is an advocate for mental health issues relate to climate instability, burnout, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism for a better world. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric TimesTM.