There is no memorial to the estimated 675,000 people killed in the U.S. in the 1918 Influenza pandemic on the National Mall. But if there were, some think, the country would have done a better job handling COVID-19.
Many now intend to make sure this pandemic doesn't get lost to history like the last one. While it will most likely be years before anyone builds a COVID memorial in Washington, architects, artists and people touched by the pandemic from around the world are already thinking about ways to remember it, which might require reinventing the idea of memorials.
"It's unprecedented," said famed architect Daniel Libeskind, who designed the master plan for the reconstruction of the World Trade Center site and several Holocaust memorials. "Just the vastness of the numbers. And the idea that each number is a name. And each name is a story."
Because the pandemic affected the entire world, some, like Rojkind Arquitectos of Mexico City, have proposed designs that could be replicated around the world, perhaps with local flourishes, connecting cities in a shared experience. Others have floated New York City, the U.S. center of the pandemic during its earliest months, as another location.
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