sent in by a Michigan woman who
worked at Ground Zero.
The quilt squares arrived slowly at first, folded into envelopes large and small, sandwiched between sturdy pieces of cardboard, wrapped in tissue paper. The project is Show Your Colors, America. Following the September 11 terrorist attacks, we asked readers to send fabric squares we would use to make quilts that could be auctioned off to aid families of the victims.
More letters trickled in through the holidays, then the trickle became a steady stream. Now they weren't just arriving in envelopes, but in boxes, too. Sybil Herron of Roswell, Georgia, sent 21; the Circle City Stencilers of Indianapolis, 42; and Girl Scout and Brownie troops from Deerfield, Illinois, a whopping 58. Red-white-and-blue quilt squares poured in from all 50 states, plus England, Iceland, Australia, Canada, and Israel. When the May 1 deadline arrived, our total had reached 1,325 squares. But even more heart-warming than the sheer number of participants are the stories the squares tell. Some messages are stitched right on the fabric in big bold letters: Courage, Freedom, Liberty, Peace. Others are scratched on paper, then carefully pinned to the fabric. Together these many quilt squares read like a book, a journal really, filled with very personal emotions, memories, and hopes. The square from Elizabeth Church of South Plainfield, New Jersey -- a star pattern with a heart in the middle -- features a photo of her grandnephew, Christopher Noble Ingrassia, 28. Christopher worked in one of the World Trade Center towers and died there September 11. Especially touching are the efforts by elementary and high school students, patriotic images stitched, painted, or ironed on that write a history on 10-inch fabric blocks. A second-grade class at St. Jude School in Cincinnati provides a fitting end to this very special quilt story with a square that reads simply: "We Remember -- We Believe -- Sept. 11, 2001."