Cub Scout Pack 233 of Westbury is seeking support for its World Trade Center Memorial Flag Quilt Project. The project, which was implemented in November 2001, is intended to honor the many victims and heroes of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
When complete, the quilt will comprise a square for each victim of the September 11 attacks.
Since launching the project four months ago, the scouts have given out more than 1,200 blank fabric patches to volunteers offering to stitch a victim's name on the six inch by six inch squares. Once complete, the quilt is expected to be 40 feet by 25 feet and comprise the names of everyone lost in the World Trade Center attacks.
Alex Nuñez, den leader of Pack 233, said newspaper clippings containing information on the deceased are attached to the quilt blocks to help volunteers become more familiar with the person. "Many of the volunteers have used the bios to personalize and add character to each patch," he said. "One victim had an infatuation with Spain so the [volunteer] stitched the Spanish Coat of Arms, along with a map of the country, onto the patch. Some participants have chosen to add angels, stars or doves. "
Some volunteers, said Nuñez, have requested a specific name when offering to create a patch. "We are trying to accommodate them as much as possible. Once a request came for a specific name that we had just sent out. We were able to track down where that victim's name went and get it back," said Nuñez.
The Scouts have also set aside an area of the quilt in honor of the many fire, police and emergency medical services personnel who lost their lives in the attacks. Each name will be adorned on a patch and placed in the shape of a flag with blue and white stars.
When the stitched patches are returned, they are then sent out to volunteers who sew them into quilt blocks. The blocks themselves , however, will not be assembled together until the first year anniversary gets closer. Though many of the Cub Scouts are too young to attempt stitching, Nuñez said they have been helpful in so many other ways. "The Scouts have been a great resource by helping out with the logistics of the project, assembling quilt kits, handing out fliers and getting the word out to build awareness that we have this very important project that everyone can participate in," he said.
"This project is not much different than when Betsy Ross stitched the first America flag, and how more American can you get than that," said Patti Matarrazo who has sewn two patches and plans to do more.
Once completed, the memorial quilt will be displayed at special Scout ceremonies and presentations until a permanent resting spot has been determined. "Through one of our volunteers, we've had contacts with the NYPD and the FDNY; They have both expressed a strong interest in displaying the memorial flag quilt," said Nuñez. "Ideally, the best place for the quilt will be at a memorial museum in downtown Manhattan. We hope to have it on display in the city on the year anniversary." In the meantime,
Nuñez said sections of the WTC Memorial Flag Quilt will be exhibited at local libraries to build awareness of the project.
"So far we've released over a thousand names, but we still have thousands more," said Nunez. "Of the 1,200 patches given out, only about half been returned [because] people are taking their time creating them.
We've gotten great support from our community, including many Girl Scout troops, senior citizens and other Cub Scout packs, but we need to reach out further."
Anyone interested in participating in the World Trade Center Memorial Flag Quilt Project should call 984-7617.