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Cedar Rapids man plants thousands of flags in tribute to Iowans who died from COVID-19

Published: Apr. 26, 2021 at 10:32 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A Cedar Rapids man is memorializing Iowans lost to COVID-19 with a visual remembrance of the human toll the pandemic has taken on the state.

Dennis Turner, a painter who lives on the city’s southeast side, started planting small, white flags in his front lawn nearly a year ago, with each flag in the ground symbolizing one Iowan who died from COVID-19.

As of Monday, more than 5,900 flags stood in his grass, with some having been in the ground so long that weeds have grown around them. Turner updates the number every few days and keeps track on a board that displays the state’s COVID-19 death statistic.

Turner said he started the field of flags as a reminder for people to wear their masks to stop the spread of the virus. Now he hopes it still encourages people to do that, as well as receive their COVID-19 vaccines, and remember the pandemic has not ended yet.

Turner said he sometimes gets emotional when he adds more flags to the field, but he plans to keep it in his yard “until this is over.”

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