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.

12 Comments (leave a comment)

  • I thought I would share yesterday’s Marcus Mentiosn blog post with you:

    Lisa, what a lovely post. Thank you for sharing! ~Cornelia

    Lisa Shepard Stewart on May 21, 2015
  • I thank all of those who have served their country. Including my husband. I am making him a USMC quilt. Ooorah!

    —Patricia D. Roberts on May 21, 2015
  • Even though we live in France we remember Memorial Day with a flag in the yard and a wreath on our door. I did make a red,white and blue star quilt but loaned it to one of my sons for a Fourth of July barbecue,he’s now taking it to London and his new home.
    No let’s not forget the freedom have,visit the cemeteries here in France

    Maryanne Rigo on May 21, 2015
  • I will honor my husband who served and think about my dad, ex- husband and my husband brother who also served.

    —Linda Christianson on May 21, 2015
  • I have a QOV that I will be binding over the holiday weekend. Just have to bind it and add the label and it will be completed.

    —Robin Peters on May 21, 2015
  • As an officer in our local LAVFW, I will be assisting with a hot dog/bratwurst cookout at the VFW here in Waycross, Georgia. Also, I have put time aside to finish the stars and stripes table runner that will be part of a raffle for July 4th.

    —debra lee on May 21, 2015
  • In our small town it is a tradition for the families of all people who have served in the military todonate the burial flags of their loved ones to the local American Legeon. On Memorial Day they line the streets of the cemetary with these flags flying every 10 feet or so. The flags are each marked with the service man or women’s name death date etc. each flag is in the place each year so that the families can see it. There is a service on Memorial Day morning and the local high school band marches down through the avenue of flags playing patriotic marches and ends up playing respectful hymns and the Star Spangle Banner. At the end of the serivce there is a fly over of jets from the nearby Navy Air base. It is a wonderful tradition. We also have a huge Veterans Day parade. We are a very patriotic town.

    —Barbara on May 21, 2015
  • I will thank the veterans that I know or who cross my path.

    —Diana O on May 21, 2015
  • I will attend ceremonies that will include the reading of the names of those in a nearby small town who died in wars. Among the names will be that of my great uncle.

    —Cyndy on May 21, 2015
  • I will attend our local ceremony that honors all veterans in all branches of service with a wreath laid on the Memorial area of our village hall.
    I am finishing a Quilt of Valor for our cousin who is in the Army and was in Afghanistan, now home and finishing service in Alaska. I will think of my father and father-in-law who served in the Navy in WWII,a step grandfather who served in WWI, and an uncle who served in the Navy and was killed in WWII. A rich heritage for our privileges and freedom. We will have a family barbecue–with flags and prayers to ALWAYS REMEMBER.

    Cathy Slabaugh on May 23, 2015
  • We’ll go out to eat and when we see a soldier, will thank him…then come home and do some quilting on one of my QOV I’m making through my Quilt Guild. A quiet evening.

    —Jeanette S on May 23, 2015
  • Today here you will be able to play free online spider solitaire games as these are of cards game which will not only let you entertain but will also help you to improve your matching skills.

    spider solitaire on October 8, 2018

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