Memorial Day: honor them with a Quilt of Valor

When I was growing up, the last Monday in May was called Decoration Day. It was established in 1868 as a day to honor those who died in the Civil War by decorating their graves with flowers. It wasn’t until 1971 that Memorial Day was declared a national holiday, and by then its scope had been expanded to honor those who died in all American wars.

Celebrate Memorial Day Make a Quilt of Valor
Memorial Day, Soldier’s National Cemetery, Gettysburg (source)

Today the holiday is celebrated with parades and barbecues, fireworks and family picnics, and is generally acknowledged as the kickoff to summer. But it’s important not to lose sight of the reason for the day: to remember those who sacrificed their lives for our country.

To help ensure they’re never forgotten, “The National Moment of Remembrance Act” was signed into law in 2000. Its purpose is to encourage all Americans to pause, wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day, for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who’ve died in service to the nation.

Equally important to remember are those who are still with us: brave men and women who put themselves in harm’s way in service to their country. As quilters, we have a tangible way to honor them. We stitch love and respect into quilts of comfort and support and then donate them to individuals or to organizations such as the Quilts of Valor Foundation.

Quilts of ValorSince its founding in 2003, this amazing organization has overseen the donation of more than 116,000 quilts. In the beginning, the focus was on the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just like Memorial Day itself, however, over time the scope was expanded to embrace all service members and veterans who have been touched by war. Check out this video to learn more about this inspiring organization.
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Presenting the Quilts of Valor Foundation
from Catherine Roberts on Vimeo.

Perhaps you’ll choose to make a Quilt of Valor this Memorial Day weekend. Here are a few gorgeous projects to inspire you, but these are really just a starting point. The quilts can be any pattern, but there are specific size and other requirements. Be sure to check the Quilts of Valor Foundation website for details.
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Quilts from Red, White, and Sometimes Blue
Clockwise from top: “Americana,” “Road to Richmond,” and “Hometown Afternoon” from
Red, White, and Sometimes Blue
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Quilts from The Blue and the Gray
“Battlefield” and “Civil War Log Cabin” from
The Blue and the Gray
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From Scrap-Basket Beauties
Clockwise from left: “Generations,” “Porch Swing,” and “Triple Star” from
Scrap-Basket Beauties

How will you mark Memorial Day? Tell us in the comments.

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