The National Quilt Museum has teamed up with Quilts of Valor to honor veterans and bring the organization’s mission to a wider audience.
“To Honor and Comfort: Quilts of Valor” opened last week at The National Quilt Museum. The exhibit features 34 Quilts of Valor made by quilters throughout the country. The quilts, which will be given to veterans of war at the conclusion of the exhibit, are premium examples of bed quilts that are created for the Quilts of Valor cause, which seeks to give every veteran who has experience combat a quilt to honor them for their service and sacrifice.
“This is really a win for both Quilts of Valor and for The National Quilt Museum, in that we are honored to help promote their work and bring it to more people who my not have heard of their phenomenal organization,” said Frank Bennett, CEO of The National Quilt Museum. “The exhibit is extraordinary and the work that their organization does for Veterans has been so impactful. These are just fantastic quilts. You kind of soak in the emotional connection that these quilt makers have with these quilts. It is just a great exhibit.”
Robert Worden, a docent at The National Quilt Museum and a Vietnam Veteran who severed in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1970, has been very involved in spreading the word about the Quilts of Valor exhibit to the veterans organizations in and around the Paducah, Ky., area. Worden said many veterans suffer from what he calls, soldier syndrome – the idea that there is another out there who should receive the honor instead of themselves. But that feeling falls away when a Quilt of Valor is draped over their shoulders.
“They accept it with pride and integrity,” said Worden. “It is not just the soldier though, it is their family. This is an opportunity for wives, children, grandchildren to celebrate with them.”
Worden recalled seeing one veteran receive a Quilt of Valor with his family present, and being overcome with emotion as his grandchildren witnessed him being honored as a hero for the first time in their lifetime.
“There is a moment of tears and recognition and looking back,” Worden said. “You are overpowered by a feeling of joy and thanksgiving that someone cared.”
Worden has a long history of military service in his family, with ancestors serving in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, WWI and WWII. When Worden saw the Quilts of Valor exhibit for the first time, he felt a connection to his own father, who served in WWII.
“I immediately felt a fellowship with him, a comradery with him,” Worden said. “It is uplifting. It is empowering, very emotional.”
Following the conclusion of the “To Honor and Comfort: Quilts of Valor” exhibit on November 10, 2015, the quilts will be taken down and presented in a special Veterans Day ceremony on November 11, 2015. They represent 34 of the more than 123,000 quilts that have been awarded to veterans since the Quilt of Valor organization was started in 2003.
“These are exceptional quilts that are all in the theme of American pride and American history,” said Bennett. “It is a true exhibit of America.”
The National Quilt Museum is the world’s largest museum devoted to quilts and fiber art. It is located at 215 Jefferson, Paducah, KY. For more information, visit the museum’s website at www.quiltmuseum.org.
Quilts of Valor works to fulfill its mission of draping each soldier touched by war with a healing Quilt of Valor to honor them for their service. For more information about the organization, visit its website at www.qovf.org.