Today, we remember the events of September 11, 2001 and honor those those who we lost. I remember the day like it was yesterday, I had two young children who were already at school for the day. My husband, whose office was not far from Ground Zero, was working at home that day.
And as I prepared my lesson plans for my classes I watched, in disbelief, as smoke poured from the first tower. Phil sat beside me and we watched in utter shock, as the second tower was hit. We both knew instantly that this was a deliberate attack. As tears welled up, we watched in horror, as the towers crumbled and fell.
I remember when the kids came home from school that day, Michael in 2nd grade, and Lisa in 5th, they asked about the news they had been given at school – that something really bad had happened. At their age, they were too young to grasp the sheer enormity of the tragedy. As a parent, I didn’t know how to respond, but I’m sure they could sense the sadness as we tried to explain that some really bad people had attacked America.
I learned a few days later that my neighbor had lost her sister that day, and I shared this with QuiltFriends, an online quilting community. As quilters we know that many quilts are made to express deep emotion in times like these and it didn’t take long for the members of QuiltFriends to come together with a plan.
Over the next few days and weeks I began receiving Red, White, and Blue blocks in the mail. As I opened the packages, and held the pieces in my hands, I could feel that each block was pieced with care. I could feel healing comfort woven into the threads of every star and every stripe. For the quilt makers, these blocks were clearly a way to express healing and were meant to send warmth and comfort to my friend and neighbor.
There is no denying that this project opened the landscape, became the sunrise, a glimmer on the ocean, and inspiration for a story to be told in stitches. Like the souls lost that day, no two blocks are alike, each one adding a singular note to the composition, like the lyrics to a song expressed in threads.
Last week, as I planned a visit home, I reached out to my old friends – I realized they won’t be around to meet and catch up with us. Instead, they will be in New York, at a ceremony that will pay tribute those who were lost on that day, including Tara Hobbs, who this quilt honors. Now, over a decade later, I want to share the pictures of the quilt made for my friend.
Looking at these pictures, I realize that quilting is more than an art, more than a hobby to many, including myself. It is a way to express heartfelt comfort, it encourages us to work through our grief, and it allows us to express emotions and reflect upon events such as the horrendous tragedies that took place on September 11, 2001.