Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Presentation of the Quilts

While the setting was impressive (Marriott West), the food wonderful - including a chocolate ganache cake that was to die for, it was the presentations of the quilts that took the spotlight.

 Each facilitator took a stack of quilts to their table and gave one to each spouse or family member. They were told to hold it for a moment. then they were instructed to drape it over the shoulders of their warrior. The emotion was almost overwhelming as we saw all those red/white/blue "capes".

And the sight of all those wrapped in "our love" brought tears to my eyes (like that's something new!).

Afterwards they were invited to get them signed by Rita or myself. Many included the spouse on the label. All were so thankful including one really tall sailor who told me how much it meant as his grandma quilted and he knew all the love and work that went into it. He had tears in his eyes as he thanked me over and over.

Then there was the Navy nurse who served downrange at a hospital (can't remember where). She told of the storage room that held the QOV's waiting to be presented and covering the wounded. She said it was a "holy place" and never imagined that she would be presented with such a special quilt. So if you ever thought that these were "just blankets", be assured that they are not treated that way by the military.

The Land of Lincoln Quilters did an outstanding job on the quilts - check out their blog! Before the start of the program several people came up to gush, really gush, over the quilts Rita had brought.

The evening starts out with the what they used to call the "gauntlet". When some of these men and women get their orders to go home, they catch the first means of getting there. Some come home without the fanfare, so the facilitators and "brass" line up and applaud them when they enter the room.

After they are seated, they have the MIA tribute. It's a very solemn, with much meaning, event. Dinner follows. After a very delicious meal, they give awards to the significant other and then the warrior. Then there are speeches---one given by the Admiral.

It is after that, when the facilitators go and get the quilts, present to the significant other and then when the quilts are all handed out, they have the wrapping!!!

We've had personnel visit at our sew-ins where they have mingled and sat and sewn with us. We miss that. But that evening they were talking about when they can return. Well, so many were showing an interest, I told them we will bring our machines to them.

Rita Pennington 
Region 6 Coordinator
Quilts of Valor Foundation

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