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An American flag flies above Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium during an NCAA college football game between Navy and Air Force in Annapolis, Md., Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

More than 5,000 flags planted on National Mall to honor veterans who died from suicide this year


Updated November 11, 2018 10:00 AM EST

Editor's note: This story was originally published Oct. 3. We're bringing it back Sunday in honor of Veterans Day.

WASHINGTON (CIRCA) – A veterans group planted 5,520 flags in the National Mall lawn on Tuesday, one to honor each veteran who died from suicide this year.

The effort was part of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America's #StormTheHill initiative, which aims to raise awareness of veteran suicides.

Approximately 4,555 American service members have died in Iraq and another 2,413 have died in Afghanistan, according to icasualties.org.

"Too many of our men and women are dying," said IAVA founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff in a statement posted to the organization's website.

"We can’t fight this problem alone. We need reinforcements of the greatest magnitude. We need a national call to action from the top that mobilizes all Americans."

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