Austin man plants a flag for every Texan lost to COVID-19: ‘It’s become a memorial’

State & Regional

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A mesmerizing field of red white and pink flags has transformed the grass in front of Shane Reilly’s central Austin home into a blanket of color.

This eye-catching tribute became a daily project for Reilly starting in May.

“I thought: ‘How do I visually represent it?” Reilly said. “These are real people and there’s a lot of them.”

As of Monday, Reilly has placed more than 32,000 flags in his yard — he’s now putting out more than 200 flags every day.

“I think I started with 972,” he said. “I never thought that I’d be hunting for places to put flags.”

The field of flags is personal for Reilly. His 17-year-old son is immunocompromised and can’t afford to get sick.

Other loved ones had to fight for their lives.

“I have family members that have been hospitalized,” Reilly said. “Thankfully, no one has died.”

Reilly’s yard serves as a reminder of just how many have not been so lucky. Some in the neighborhood have stopped to write down the names of those they’ve lost.

“This isn’t just a flag, this is someone’s mom or dad. That’s somebody’s friend that died.”

Reilly says he’s running out of room on his lawn and would like to move his memorial. He’s suggested moving it to the Texas Capitol lawn.

He also has a GoFundMe page set up to help pay for a potential move.

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