‘Field of Flags’ on National Mall represents Americans who cannot attend Biden’s inauguration

Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty ImagesBy MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — When Joe Biden is sworn-in Wednesday as the 46th president of the United States, his inauguration will look strikingly different than any other.

Tens of thousands of American flags — rather than massive crowds of people — will stand on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee has installed some 191,500 U.S. flags of varying sizes on a swath of the long, grassy park to represent the American people who cannot attend Biden’s inauguration. The public art display, which covers the National Mall from 3rd Street to 13th Street, is illuminated by 56 pillars of light and includes flags for every U.S. state and territory.

The so-called Field of Flags reflects “our commitment to an inclusive and safe event that everyone can enjoy from their home,” the committee said.

Biden’s inauguration comes at a time when the coronavirus pandemic rages across the country and people cannot gather together in person. The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 400,000 on Tuesday, according to real-time data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

There are also heightened security concerns following the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol building. Some 25,000 National Guard troops are assisting with securing the presidential inauguration.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee has urged the public to “refrain from any travel and participate in the inaugural activities from home.” The footprint of the swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol will be “extremely limited,” with “vigorous health and safety protocols,” and the parade that follows will be mostly virtual, according to the committee.

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