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Biden inauguration: The hidden meaning behind the 'Field of Flags' on the National Mall

Field of Flags
Posted at 12:16 PM, Jan 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-19 14:33:05-05

Typically, a presidential inauguration brings people from all across America to Washington, D.C., to celebrate a peaceful transfer of power.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing security concerns in Washington, attendance at president-elect Joe Biden's inauguration will be extremely limited.

PHOTOS: See the Field of Flags lit up for the first time ahead of the inauguration

But while Americans won't be able to celebrate Biden's inauguration together on Jan. 20, Biden's Presidential Inaugural Committee constructed a massive art project on the national mall to represent those who could not be there in person.

The "Field of Flags" installation was unveiled on Monday evening, which covers the National Mall's green space between the U.S. Capitol and 13th Street.

According to the Inaugural Committee, the installation includes "191,500 U.S. flags of varying sizes; including flags representing every state and territory." The flags are illuminated by 56 pillars of light, representing the 50 states and six territories that make up the U.S.

The Field of Flags was lit up for the first time on Monday night. According to CNN, the field was illuminated in a ceremony that took approximately 46 seconds — a number representing Biden's title of the 46th U.S. president.

The Inaugural Committee said the Field of Flags represents its "commitment to an inclusive and safe event that everyone can enjoy from their home."

Biden will deliver his inaugural address on Wednesday on the west side of the Capitol, facing out toward the Field of Flags.

Following his win in the 2020 presidential election, Biden asked his supporters not to travel to Washington for the inauguration due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Capitol riots further scuttled Biden's inaugural plans, as federal law enforcement has closed several streets and installed security checkpoints near the Capitol and the White House.

Biden was forced to cancel plans to ride an Amtrak train to Washington following the political violence that erupted earlier this month.