November 2002 Newsletter
I hope this note finds you all well,
Winter has blown its chilly winds here in the northeast and dusted the land with glistening snow. I hope you are all safe and warm as you read this.
Business - The Quilt is now officially incorporated and we are working to register with a few states to begin the fundraising. For our kick off we are planning for a benefit in VA. We are meeting with a local accountant next week to work on the laws and regulations of fundraising nationally, and internationally. Some days I sit back in complete awe at what we all have worked together to create! Please let me know if you are interested in hosting a benefit so we can register in your state and begin the plans.
Panels - I have been being asked how many panels, how big are we? It’s hard to give a tally because I receive panels every week and there are so many still out there that will be here soon. We are working at filling the 19,000sq.ft. flag at this point. Yes the quilt picture on the home page is a mere ¼ of the next full showing of the quilt. I look in amazement. I knew the details, but when you picture its size and how big it will be……….. we may just need to find a ranch some place to display this!!!
Thank you - I wish I could tell you about each and every person and part of this quilt. We have the greatest people in the world involved in this project with us. Chris in CO. has been working so hard to get panels signed and others involved. Mike in Alaska even chasing down the LT Governor for signatures. Amy from NJ, she took her family panel to Ground Zero, to sign it and added us to her website. Mary in IL nominated this project for the Points of Light Award and is a constant source of energy for me. The list goes on. Just today I met a young man that is working to get his Navy panel complete and has offered to get one from the Marines as well. That’s all of the branches covered! The Dakota’s we still need and then we’re at 50 states! We received a panel from the International Balloon fest. This is held in NM. I have yet to sit and count the countries that are represented on that one panel. The panel is near gray due to the amount of signatures! School children in Maryland working on their panel even in the midst of a lock down. It gives me chills to consider the immense hearts that are a part of the quilt. Thank you all for your hard work on Make A Difference Day. I know we made a difference!
Story - This is truly a story of thanksgiving I will share with you. Every story that I have offered you to date has been of the people that have made this journey one of great joy. This may just be the hardest one I have ever written. Even as I begin I start to tear. Last month I was honored to meet some of the most amazing people. I first met a great friend of the quilts and of mine. I hugged Tamera. For those of you that have just signed on, Tamera works at Army Headquarters in the Pentagon and was one of 3 to survive in her company. We have emailed for a year. Walking an unknown path together. I have to say it was a moment I will never forget. Her and her husband Pete drove me to the Pentagon and met a local Senators Representative and officials from the Secretary of Defenses office. I was taken to the memorial where a panel was placed for all to sign. We stopped at places like where the black box was found, the new section, and I was told stories of that awful day. At one point I turned to the officials that were showing me around and told them I expected them to be stuffy and tight lipped. I WAS at the Pentagon. They chuckled and explained that this quilt means so much to them and they wanted to help show me why and give us all the energy to continue. I stopped at that very moment and looked down an empty opening where the parts of the plane had been. I tried to remember each detail to share with you all to consume that very moment. To be honest all I remember is the feeling of great-renewed energy and a devotion to not let their friends be forgotten. I turned to them and told them that this quilt has the greatest people in America and the world involved and we would not let them down. I was then taken to an office in the Secretary of Defense section to wait and meet back up with Tamera. Tamera took me to her office and then to where her office once was. We met up with another survivor, Walter, who was as wonderful as the others I had met. He told me more stories and took me to an office where he sat me with a map of where everyone was when the plane hit. As we sat and talked about who was where, Walter looked at me and said “ see that desk?” the woman that sat at it was on the phone and said, “ Oh My God” before the nose of the plane hit and her phone went dead. I had tried so hard to be strong but at that moment when I realized the holy ground I stood on, I wept for all those that gave their life in a war they didn’t know they were fighting. My heart ached for all those I had met and those that I will never meet. But Walter and Tamera didn’t skip a beat and moved me to meet LTC. Childress. LTC Childress was wonderful and shared his stories as well. The minutes passed to hours and my time there had ended. A part of me didn’t want to leave, but I knew that they would never leave my heart or the quilts. The following day Tamera, Pete and their daughter Franchesca met with me and we dove to a fire station in VA. The fire station was one that had added a panel with the help of our Rep. In VA, Jean. The Reston Fire Dept. housed a fireman that found the black box and one also that helped lower the flag over the Pentagon on 9/11. They were wonderful to us all. They fed us firehouse chili and Franchesca even got ice cream! We took pictures, shared stories and answered some questions that Tamera had wondered since that day over a year before. They treated us like family. I can’t help but smile when I remember the way they welcomed us and how I wished I could have had you all there to meet them. The trip was nearing an end. I had lined up a visit to PA and had to get there 6 hours earlier! I hugged Tamera one last time, both of us crying. And I headed east. One last stop before going to PA to meet with some wonderful girl scouts, which were expecting me hours ago. I was not able to get to those lovely girls and make it home on time. I was heart broken to let them down. They worked so hard at producing a panel for the quilt and did a wonderful job doing so. A special thanks to Lori and her troops for all their hard work!
While there are days that make us know we should give to others, there are people that make that giving so easy. I met some of those people and I can tell you that each panel that is a part of this quilt has touched their lives. Many times I was asked to thank you all. Many times I was told how lucky I was to know each of you. I do know my wealth and it is those I have been so blessed to meet either by phone, email or in person. Thank you all for your hard work and constant support. Your unselfish giving is a true asset to our world.
Have a wonderful holiday season!
Copyright HoAQ 2002©