A stunning art installation of nearly 200,000 US flags has filled the National Mall, representing Americans who can't attend Biden's inauguration

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A stunning art installation of nearly 200,000 US flags has filled the National Mall, representing Americans who can't attend Biden's inauguration
The "Field of Flags" art installation is illuminated at the National Mall in Washington DC on January 18, 2020.Joe Raedle/Pool via AP
  • Ahead of Biden's inauguration, nearly 200,000 American flags were installed on the National Mall.
  • The Presidential Inaugural Committee led the effort in creating the public art display, called the 'Field of Flags.'
  • Biden has long emphasized that most in-person inaugural activities would be scaled-down this year.

Ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday, nearly 200,000 American flags were installed on the National Mall, representing the tens of thousands of citizens who will be unable to attend the ceremony.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee led the effort in creating the public art display, called the 'Field of Flags', which was designed with 56 pillars of light to symbolize all 50 states and US territories.

On Monday night, the display was illuminated, a dazzling showcase highlighting the resiliency of the country, with the vaunted Capitol building looming in the background.

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Less than two weeks after the Capitol was the scene of deadly rioting and amid the high-level, Fort Knox-style security measures that have been instituted across Washington DC in response, the flags serve as a reminder of the millions of people who make up the fabric of the country.

A stunning art installation of nearly 200,000 US flags has filled the National Mall, representing Americans who can't attend Biden's inauguration
A display of flags on the National Mall.ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images

"This inauguration marks a new chapter for the American people - one of healing, of unifying, of coming together, of an America united," said Tony Allen, the chief executive office of the Presidential Inaugural Committee. "It is time to turn the page on this era of division. The inaugural activities will reflect our shared values and serve as a reminder that we are stronger together than we are apart, just as our motto 'e pluribus unum' reminds us - out of many, one."

Read more: How full Democratic control of Washington DC could transform real estate

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While Americans will not be physically present on the National Mall, they are there in spirit, an important sentiment to remember as Biden, soon-to-be the nation's 46th president, inherits a country mired in the most difficult stage of the coronavirus pandemic.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in the US, over 24 million people have been infected and nearly 400,000 people have died, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Biden, cognizant of the dangers of traveling during a pandemic, emphasized that most of the inauguration activities, usually filled with robust parade crowds and stately black tie affairs, would largely become virtual affairs.

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However, Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will still take their oath of office on the Capitol steps in front of the Capitol, with millions of people watching a peaceful transfer of power unfold.

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