Recently the Vietnam Traveling Wall was displayed at my American Legion. 20+ years ago (young and dumb!) My husband was stationed at Camp David and I traveled to Washington DC fairly often and could not bring myself all the way to that monument. I'm very emotional (bi-polar) and sappy which is why I so dearly love and value Quilts of Valor for many reasons. I could never endure the pain that our lost soldiers family must endure. I'm not strong enough to do what other quilters do for our fallen and their families. With Quilts of Valor it gives me purpose and healing and gives honor and thanks to our returning soldiers past and present who often go unappreciated.
I had a Vietnam veteran who's a dear friend of mine meet me up there to 'Walk the Wall'... I"m a night owl so I knew there probably were only the guards out that late and I wouldn't be worried about walking slow with my cane, or crying, or bothering any others... . My friend was visiting with two of the local volunteers who pulled the long night hours guarding the wall. And the gentleman and his wife were carrying on about how beautiful the quilt was that cover's the ceiling of the Serving Project Bus that was on site also (photo in my gallery under "big bertha'). My friend pointed to me as I walked up and said "she is the one who made that quilt" and I knew he was talking about Big Bertha. Well the two of them jumped up with open arms, tears in their eyes and big smiles, and wonderful hugs and kind words over 'just a quilt'... We must have talked for 30 minutes or so and after hearing this volunteer's story I couldn't NOT give him the one and only QOV I grabbed on the way out the door that night.... He retired from the military having served from 56-80 I believe. He was taken prisoner of war in 1957 and released 2 1/2 years later weighing only 80lbs. His dear friend that was captured and released with him died in his very arms shortly after their release. His dear friends name is upon that great wall and honors his lost soldier which makes it very dear to this man and his wife. I looked at my friend and he looked at me with a smirk because he knew there was no way I could have NOT brought 'one' with me LOL So I hobbled back to my truck and grabbed the one QOV I had with me and walked back over to where they were stationed at the end of the display. When I walked up I heard him saying how much he'd sure love to have a quilt like those on the bus and what an honor it must be to receive one. After I explained why I do QOVs and how honored it made ME to be able to tell veteran's like him 'thank you and welcome home' He and I both were bawling our eyes out embraced in a hug with the QOV between us ! So he and his wife of 44 years, and my dear friend helped me walk that wall finally and almost in the middle is where we are standing. About 1/4 of the way down in between me and this veteran is the name of his fallen friend. We shared alot of laughs, tears, stories, exchanged information and I have no doubt I will see that wonderful couple again. QUILTS DO MATTER!!
The quilt was made by one of my fellow Ladies Aux members in "Under Our Wings" project I hosted over the summer. It's a Nickel Quilt pattern from the first Nickel Quilt books (I think the first) made from scraps that I've saved over the last 3 years and stacked into 5' squares of red, white, and blue.