Quilt memorializes fallen heroes
November 24, 2010
FORT SILL, Okla. -- Five and a half feet of cloth is hanging in the Field Artillery Museum to remind everyone of the sacrifice service members have made and continue to make. The Lost Heroes Art Quilt is filled with young faces depicting the fallen as children. With each state represented the quilt is also lined with the statement, "Without a witness they will disappear."
The quilt was originally dedicated at the Families United Gold Star Dinner during the weekend of remembrance in Washington, D.C., Sept. 25, 2009. Since then it has traveled all over the U.S. with the final goal of being exhibited in as many states as possible before ending up back in Washington, D.C., on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
"It takes a lot of personal courage to understand these faces that we see here that represent each of the states were people. That they had bright aspirations, bright hopes. They were fathers, they were sons, they were daughters, they represent everyone who has given their life for freedom. We will never forget," said Maj. Gen. David Halverson, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill commanding general.
During a ceremony Nov. 19, Halverson said it is an honor to show the quilt and help those at Fort Sill reflect on the price of freedom.
Denice York shared a poem she wrote to her son, Staff Sgt. Christopher Hake, who was killed in the Iraq war and represents the state of Oklahoma on the quilt.
"An 'Army of One' they said he would be as he picked up the pen to sign he'd agree, to fight for his country, our freedom and peace. Shaking his head, he said 'That's the least,'" said York.
She wrote the poem for him during his first deployment in 2005. She was joined by her grandson who upon first seeing the quilt was able to spot his father right away even though it showed him as a child.
"He wanted to be in the Army from the time he was 4-years-old. And he loved it. He volunteered to go to Iraq because he knew he was losing buddies over there and he said 'I've got to go too,'" said York.
Many memorials appear as lists of names, dates or statistics but the patches in the quilt strive to bring the brave Americans to life by allowing viewers a glimpse into each of their personalities, plans and dreams.
"It is my sincere hope that the Lost Heroes Art Quilt will help the healing of fallen families. At the same time, its mission is to bring awareness to the American public about the selfless devotion of the young men and women who protect our nation's freedom by serving in the military," said Julie Feingold, quilt creator.
Feingold said she chose a quilt as her medium to evoke the warm feelings of love, family, history, and healing. In addition she said showing the fallen as children would create even more impact for viewers.
Nancey Hecker, a Gold Star Mother of a field artillery Soldier, was the driving force behind the quilt coming to the Fires Center of Excellence.
"The word 'hero' describes one who has put their own life in peril for a noble purpose greater than themselves. The word lost refers to what has been lost to the families friends and society by their deaths," said Poindexter.