On Thursday, November 10th, the Forest Acres Quilting Club presented two Quilts of Valor during the annual Veteran's Day assembly at Freeman High School in Adams, Nebraska. When I first began thinking about making quilts for QOV, this assembly was at the top of my list as a possible venue for the presentations. My husband recently retired from 42 years of teaching at Adams and Freeman High School and was always quite impressed and complimentary about the assembly. When I contacted Randy Page, Superintendent of Freeman Schools, he was equally enthusiastic about including our quilting club in the program.
The assembly began with "God Bless The USA" performed by the Freeman High School Band followed by the presentation of colors by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion Posts in Adams. Superintendent Page welcomed the approximately 450 K-12 students, veterans, and community members to the program. The school has a theme of “Choices” this year and Mr. Page did a great job of tying that in with the veterans and the choice that they made to serve our country and fight for our freedom.. The band then played the national anthem and the kindergarten class led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. A Freeman 8th grade student then recited her speech for the Patriot's Pen contest which focused on her beliefs about America. This was followed by the Jr. High and High School Choir combining to perform "Let Freedom Sing". The band concluded the program with the playing of the "National Emblem March". It was nice to see so many students involved in the presentation of the assembly in a variety of different ways.
The Forest Acres Quilting Club was honored to be the main speaker for this year's assembly. Two of our club members, Lorna McMurray and Rita Fix, explained the mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation and spoke about the quilt bringing "a three part message from our hearts. First, we honor you for your service. We honor you for leaving what you held dear and stood in harm's way in a time of crisis, protecting us and many others from the effects of war. Next, our quilters know that freedom is not free. The cost of our freedom is the dedication of lives of men and women like you and the quilts are meant to say thank you for your sacrifice. Also, the quilt is meant to offer comfort to you and to remind you that although family and friends cannot be with you at all times, you are forever in their thoughts and hearts." This information was gathered from the Quilts of Valor Foundation website which shares several ideas on information to be used in a script for the presentation of the quilts. As Lorna and Rita were presenting details about the QOV, Janie Oltman and I displayed the quilts with the help of two Freeman High School students.
The recipients of the Quilts of Valor were World War II flying ace, Don McPherson, and Korean War veteran, Orville Weber, both long-time residents of Adams. Don served in the Navy from September 1942 to November 1945. He was recently awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in Washington D.C. Orville served in the Army from 1952 to 1954 during the Korean War. He attained the rank of Sergeant during his tenure as a front-line soldier. Lorna encouraged the students to ask Don and Orville about their service as they both have interesting stories to tell.
While our club members spend two hours each week enjoying each other's company and sharing our common interest in sewing and quilting, it is the presentations of the Quilts of Valor that are most special to us. The looks on the faces of our recipients and their families make every stitch so meaningful. And to be able to share that with 375 students this morning was icing on the cake!