• A photo of 1st Lt. Thomas Martin, as a child, represents his home state of South Dakota. He is one of 50 servicemembers in the quilt representing each state in the U.S.  Martin was 27 when killed in combat near Busayifi, Iraq, Oct. 14, 2007.

    Quilt Patch

    A photo of 1st Lt. Thomas Martin, as a child, represents his home state of South Dakota. He is one of 50 servicemembers in the quilt representing each state in the U.S. Martin was 27 when killed in combat near Busayifi, Iraq, Oct. 14, 2007.

  • Jenny Koranyi tries to decipher the secret message left in The Lost Heroes Art Quilt by creator Julie Feingold.

    Quilt 2

    Jenny Koranyi tries to decipher the secret message left in The Lost Heroes Art Quilt by creator Julie Feingold.

FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas - The Lost Heroes Art Quilt paid homage to Fort Sam Houston by making the Warrior and Family Support Center a Nov. 19 stop on its journey across America.

A tradition in many cultures, quilts often begin as scraps of cloth that become works of art, as well as telling a story or even recording history.

Artist Julie Feingold designed the Lost Heroes Art Quilt to recall U.S. servicemembers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11. She met with Gold Star Mothers and other family members for background on each troop as she designed the quilt.

Ed Martin, an operations specialist at Fort Sam Houston's Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, and his wife, Candis, were thrilled when they were contacted by Feingold to remember the life of their son, 1st Lt. Thomas Martin.

Martin was 27 when killed in combat by small arms fire when insurgents attacked his unit during night operations near Busayifi, Iraq, Oct. 14, 2007.

Aassigned to C Troop, 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska, Martin "always wanted to be a Soldier," said his father.

"He grew up in the Army," recalled the elder Martin, "me being a command sergeant major and his mother a chief warrant officer 5. He went to JROTC in high school. When he graduated, he applied for West Point but was not accepted. He knew that if he joined the Army he could resubmit his package, which he did while he was stationed in Korea, and was accepted."

Ed Martin said what he remembered most about his son was his smile. "For Tom, it was always his smile. You can pick it out anywhere; he has it on his picture on the quilt. He had it as an adult. We saw it when he graduated from basic training, when we looked out into the crowd - you could spot him by his smile."

The striking quilt, which stands five feet tall by 15 feet long, is somberly impressive on a black background with photographs bounded by crosses. It is prominently displayed on a hand-carved wooden stand designed and created by artisan Michael Scarborough.

It shows 82 fallen heroes from every U.S. military branche - 50 in the body of the quilt, representing each state and 32 around the border. A childhood photo represents each servicemember. Words surrounding each image give viewers a brief snapshot of the individuals' personalities and interests.

On the quilt, Martin represents South Dakota, his home state.

The words that surround his photo tell only a small fraction of his story. They read: "West Point, numerous medals, undaunted determination, journals, rugby, ranger, church, 4-H, band and theatre, Calvin & Hobbes, touched many lives, Eagle Scout, fiercely dedicated to his men, his mission and his country."

Also accompanying the quilt on this tour, is a companion book titled, "The Lost Heroes Art Quilt Book," that lists the names of 5,000 Americans who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan as of July 4, 2009. It also gives an in-depth story of each servicemember highlighted on the quilt.

"The thing we support so doggedly about the quilt is that the kids are not forgotten. That is why we (Gold Star Families and families of the fallen) work so hard for, and why we are so thrilled about the quilt, and the theme, 'Without a witness,' they will disappear," said Martin.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16