In September 2021, more than 600,000 white flags, each with a personally written message honoring the memory of a loved one, filled the National Mall in Washington D.C. as a memorial to the lives lost to COVID-19 in the United States. This massive art exhibition created by Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg, titled In America: Remember, stood not only as an elegiac tribute to those who passed away, but also as an acute expression of grief and symbolic catharsis for those who were left behind.
Inspired by In America: Remember, the Harriton High School art department co-opted the idea as a creative and collaborative way for their school community to articulate and illustrate the complex and varied thoughts and emotions brought on by the ups and downs of the last two years.
Over the past several weeks, flags were distributed to students and staff in their advisory periods with instructions to write messages of hope or thanks to someone or something that supported them and helped them navigate the litany of recent difficulties. The flags were then installed throughout Harriton's front lawn to serve as a symbol of hope and inspiration for all who see it.
An on-site description of Harriton's Flag Exhibition reads as follows:
Despite our collective struggle over the last two years, we aspire to persevere and grow our bond as a community. In acknowledgment of our experiences, each student and staff member will create a flag with a personal message to be included in a public installation in front of our school. United together, our flags will stand as a symbol of the strength and good will of our community.