Virtually all Americans who were alive on September 11, 2001 can probably tell you in great detail what happened on that tragic morning. Maybe they were sipping their morning coffee when they saw the plane hit the first tower on the morning news. Perhaps they were sitting in snarled traffic on their way to work in D.C. when they saw the smoke rise from the Pentagon attack. Whatever you were doing that day, it’s probably emblazoned in your memory, as time slowed to a crawl and you watched in horror as the events of the day unfurled on every news station.

After 9/11, we all found our ways to collectively mourn. For me and many others, we channeled our grief into a therapeutic project which helped us honor the memory of those who lost their lives that day. We created a quilt in honor of the people who lost their lives.

I started creating the quilt 10 days after September 11. We had about 50 people working on the quilt, writing names, cutting, ironing, and sewing fabric together. Our children had a fabric drive, and we even had a couple of bake sales to raise money to buy fabric.

We worked in my home until the quilt got too big for that space, then we relocated to Woodbine Baptist Church in their fellowship hall, where people would frequently stop to see our work in progress. It took me 5 months to get a list of 3006 names together and we put the final stitches on the quilt on September 7, 2002.

This project is so much greater than myself, because I had never made a quilt and I could not have done it without so many people helping and supporting this wonderful project. The quilt is 15’ by 22’ and contains all of the names of 9/11 victims. It is a red, white and blue striped quilt with white stars. On the white stripes are squares with people who were on the planes, in the World Trade Towers and in the Pentagon. On the red and blue stripes are white stars with the names of the rescue workers, police officers and others who tried to help that day. In each corner there is a block in honor of those not listed on the planes, and in the center are blocks for people not listed in the World Trade Towers and Pentagon.

It was an honor when Senator George Allen made his floor statement commemorating the September 11 terrorist attacks and mentioned our efforts. He told of the resiliency of the American people, how after great tragedy we came together in our smaller communities and as a nation. This was our way of coming together as a community, showing pride for our nation, and honoring those who lost their lives. But most importantly our quilt, along with the many other acts of remembrance, showed the world that America is strong and this tragedy only fortifies our love of our country and of our people.


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