We have done it again – honored so many in different parts of the United States. Yesterday, Veterans Day, began with a picnic beside the Potomac River. We had gotten Safeway deluxe sandwiches, sat at the table, watched the squirrels, ducks and a deer and enjoyed the river. I did feed the squirrels some of my sandwich until Barbara busted me.
We were due at the Women’s Memorial at 1:30pm on the nose and we had a caravan of three vans. The roads were packed and the road into Arlington was like race car driving. We had gotten special parking passes to get into the Memorial so we felt kinda special. We walked into the Memorial and were kindly greeted and they all said they had been waiting for us. We sat up all of our Service quilts – one to represent each branch of the Service. People loved them. Then we moved outside to where the ceremony was to start. They had setup a large white table for us to put quilts on. When we got there we had to change all the letters on the back of the quilts and fill in all the labels. It kept every one of us moving. Then our veterans started coming in.
Our first veteran was a Women’s Army Corps LTC, one of the first female ordinance officers in WWII. Did I tell you she was 107 years old and still as bright as a tack? Lou told her he would be honored to salute her and he did and she was so cool, she saluted back. We awarded her quilt and everyone around said they would show it off. We all felt we had just witnessed a piece of history and for me, such an honor. Our next recipient was a 95 year old WWII Air Force female. Then came a Purple Heart Recipient from Florida, a male.
Half way through the ceremony, I was called up to award quilts to each of the 5 services – all female. Guess which one was the quilter. Surprise, the Marine and she loved her quilt. They all loved their quilts but she really understood. Then we gave the BG, Wilma Vaughn, her quilt. It was a hand appliquéd Eagle Lynne had done and the General really liked it. After the ceremony ended, we had already spotted who we were going to award quilts to. 12 of the Quilts of Honor crew went in all different directions awarding quilts. Carolyn found a veteran nurse in the gift shop and awarded her a quilt right there in the gift shop. I had the honor of awarding a quilt to an Army Bugler from the old guard, a female. I came before her and now she carries on. Lou and I spotted an Airborne Army Ranger and we walked right up to him. I grabbed his hand and he said, “oh God, I’m so honored.” We gave quilts to two Army Chaplains and continued until it was almost dark and they were getting ready to lock the gates of Arlington. The crew worked so hard.
We had scheduled our last dinner together at Bertucci’s Italian Food – 3 different pizzas and 3 different pastas. They gave us a break on dinner as it was Veterans Day. We ended our evening awarding a quilt, made by Flo, to Sondra, a female Marine veteran who works with Quilts of Honor East. She truly loved the quilt – she cried and cried as Lou and I presented her with the quilt.
This is what we are all about – giving back to our veterans and never forgetting what they have sacrificed. There are many stories to tell. Maybe after a few days of rest I can tell some more. We accomplished more than I expected and Quilts of Honor continues to grow. I am so proud to be a part of something so great.
To the Santillos who hosted us – we love you dearly and when we come here, we come home.
God bless you all until next time,