9/11 memorial quilt displayed at Berrien fairgrounds
Published 9:57 am Friday, September 11, 2015
Shortly following Sept. 11, 2001, Amy Sue Leasure, of Arizona, put out a request for quilt blocks — 12 inches by 12 inches — each with a design or a message for the victims and the families of the victims of the terrorist attacks.
What happened afterwards was something that no one had ever imagined. Leasure received over 20,000 blocks from around the world. The blocks just kept coming in.
She sent them to different volunteers across the country to be assembled into five square by five square panels, and then the panels were sent back to Leasure.
Many of the panels were given to the fire departments, police and first responders that were involved with the aftermath of the attacks. Others were sold to raise money for charities or donated directly to them.
In 2002, Leasure passed away, and Brian Kohler, of Washington, took over. Once Kohler finished the project, all of the panels that were not donated or sold were put on display in Seattle in 2004.
Fast-forward a decade, and the quilt now is in the hands of Beverly Kuemin, of Niles.
“I contacted Kohler, and he shipped it to me,” Kuemin said. “I am the keeper of the quilt right now.”
Kuemin said that she did not personally know anyone killed in the terrorist attacks, however she knew people in the Michiana area that had relatives that were killed.
“There was a lady in Mishawaka whose daughter died in 9/11,” she said. “I had a friend I worked with whose cousin was killed, as well.”
After learning about the quilt from a flier at a sewing shop, Kuemin decided to sew some blocks of her own. After that, she continued to follow the progress of the quilt online, eventually deciding to contact Kohler to bring the quilt to the Midwest.
“I’m trying to take it on tour all over the country,” she said.
The quilt’s first stop will be at the Berrien County Youth Fairgrounds in the Berrien County Building Sept. 10-12 — the same time as the 14th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. On display will be over 300, 60 in by 60 in panels as well as 20 honor banners for the firefighters, police officers and paramedics.
There will be no cost to attend the showing, however donations will be accepted and will go toward a registered nonprofit for 9/11 quilts.
The quilt will be on display from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10 and Friday, Sept. 11, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12.
The Berrien County Youth Fairgrounds are located at 9122 Old US 31 in Berrien Springs.