Saturday, November 11, 2023

Veterans Day

A Veterans Day Prayer:

Father God, we ask You to pour out Your grace and renewed hope and strength to those who have so sacrificially protected and served our country. Provide and abundantly bless our Veterans and their families. Holy Spirit comfort, heal, and bring peace to the hearts and homes of all of these brave heroes as only You can. Amen.

I was honored to award 20 Quilts of Valor during the Veterans Day Program at Monroeville High School yesterday.  

This is the 8th years that the school has been involved with awarding the quilts. In recognition of the 20th anniversary of the Quilts of Valor Foundation, we set a goal of awarding 20 quilts at the program. I knew it would be challenging to get that done, but I had faith that it would happen. 

Earlier this year, I gave a program at my local guild's meeting with the agreement that I would waive my fee if they allowed me to have a "garage sale" afterwards to raise money for this project. Think about twenty quilts and the amount of fabric, batting, and backing that was going to be needed to make them. I needed money to pay for that, so I went through my stash of notions and fabric and sold them to raise money. I was thrilled with the results and was overwhelmed with gratitude when the guild also paid my fee. One member also handed me two quilts and a big bag of patriotic fabrics for me to use. I am blessed! 💗💗    

I spent months working on QOV projects as leaders and enders, pattern tests, and class samples. When I could, I quilted and bound these quilts. In August, I received a phone call from a friend who works at a local hospice, asking if I had three quilts that I could award to three veterans who had expressed the desire to receive quilts. I am sure you already know how I answered that question. I figured it was only August, so I had plenty of time and could certainly make three more quilts. 

Life got very busy here and about three weeks ago I knew I was going to need help. I reached out to a friend who is involved in a local QOV group. She put me in contact with her group leader and they provided me with three quilt tops. I would need to quilt and bind them (the binding was included), but that was not going to be a problem. To say I was relieved is an understatement! I also had a couple of friends who offered to help with binding or whatever else I needed, but I still felt that things were "doable" for me. (Ok, so maybe what I just described is really called being stubborn or obstinate. Maybe...LOL)   

Fast forward to two weeks ago when I woke up with sharp and constant pain in my back, side, and abdomen. I know that pain well and realized I had a kidney stone. Oh my goodness! I did not have time for this! We made a trip to the ER to verify and get some medication to help along the process. If you've ever experienced a kidney stone, you know that it is not fun and quilting just was not going to happen. It took nine days (and a second trip to the ER) for that stone to pass, but more importantly, I lost nine days of QOV sewing. I will admit that I may have started to panic. 

I took a deep breath, said a few prayers, and decided that I could do this. I HAD to do this! I am blessed with a husband who "gets" me and my somewhat insane ideas, and he stepped up and really helped me stay calm and on task. Thursday evening, while he was at rehearsal, I completed the final quilt. I am not ashamed to admit that I was quite emotional at that point. I was not emotional about how close I was to not getting these done; but rather, I was emotional about the reason I was making these quilts. 


Friday, I was overcome with emotion a few times during the program, especially when the elementary choir was singing. Those children were so passionate and it gives me such hope for our future and the next generation. The program organizer Melissa, did a wonderful job incorporating student participation. Students were invited to enjoy breakfast with their veteran family members and it was so much fun to watch generations spending that time together. Students were also involved in the introductions of the veterans and the wrapping of them. It was wonderful! The school hallways were decorated with amazing artwork from all grade levels and I know the veterans enjoyed seeing it during their walk from the cafeteria to the athletic complex where the program was being held. Great job students!

I always get emotional when I hear the Armed Forces Medley and yesterday was no exception. The band sounded great and it was a wonderful tribute to all branches of the military!  Here is a YouTube link that is from this past Memorial Day program in Washington, DC. This medley includes the Space Force, and I think it is my new favorite version. Armed Forces Medley 

It's lesson time... (clinking on each link will take you to more detailed information) 

From Wikipedia:  The Armed Forces Medley, also known as the Armed Forces Salute is today recognized as a collection of the official marchpasts/songs of the 6 services of the United States Armed ForcesArmyMarine CorpsNavyAir ForceCoast Guard, and Space Force.[1] The medley is usually played in increasing order of precedence:[2]

Semper Paratus (US Coast Guard)

Semper Supra (US Space Force)

The U.S. Air Force (US Air Force)

Anchors Aweigh (US Navy)

Marines' Hymn (US Marine Corps)

The Army Goes Rolling Along (US Army)

Bottom line - all 20 quilts got made and awarded and the program went off with only a few minor hiccups. I am proud and honored to be a part of celebrating our veterans. I look forward to doing this again for many years to come. 

Thank you Veterans!