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Quilt Display Honors Victims, Heroes of 9-11 Attacks

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 10, 2003 – A colorful collection of quilted cloth now on display at Arlington National Cemetery illustrates that the victims and heroes of 9-11 won't be forgotten, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz noted here Sept. 9.

"This is close to the anniversary of a very special day that I think Americans and the whole world will remember for the rest of our lives," the deputy defense secretary remarked at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial building at the cemetery.

Wolfowitz was the keynote speaker at a ceremony highlighting the collection or more than 100 memorial quilts that will be displayed inside the WIMSA building until the end of the year.

June Forte, curator of the 9-11 quilt collection, said DoD has received quilts made by school children and adults from across the country and overseas honoring the sacrifice of those killed and wounded in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States, as well as the exploits of police, fire and rescue workers that followed.

The quilt collection, Forte said, previously has been on public display in California and Massachusetts.

Wolfowitz said the quilts represent "marvelous work" that perpetuates the memory of the sacrifices of 9-11 victims and heroes.

"I think the quilts illustrate how profoundly the American people -- and people all over the world -- were moved by the attacks of Sept. 11," Wolfowitz said.

After the attacks, he continued, "people came together in this traditional art form to share their grief, to express sympathy for victims and their families, and to show their unity and resolve."

Two years after a hijacked airliner crashed into the Pentagon killing 184 people, DoD's headquarters "has been repaired in record time," Wolfowitz said, noting that the war against global terrorist goes on.

Wolfowitz emphasized that Americans must never lose sight of what the anti-terror war is all about, pointing to the terrorists' 9-11 acts "of mass murder" of innocent victims.

America's military men and women, he remarked, are today deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq and other far-flung locales in the fight against terrorism.

"Those service members and their families know what's at stake" in the global war against terrorism, Wolfowitz noted, saluting U.S. and coalition military successes against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the removal of Saddam Hussein's brutal regime in Iraq.

Saddam invaded his neighbors and used weapons of mass destruction against his own people, Wolfowitz pointed out, noting that during his two decades of rule in Iraq, Saddam likely killed a million innocent human beings.

And, the deputy defense secretary said, Saddam "harbored, encouraged and rewarded terrorists."

America is prepared to lead the fight against global terrorism, which Wolfowitz said "is far from over."

"The battle for the peace in Iraq is now the central front in the war on terror," the deputy defense secretary maintained. He noted that U.S. and coalition objectives in Iraq involve destroying the terrorists, enlisting international support for a free Iraq, and assisting the Iraqi people to assume responsibility for their own defense and future.

Wolfowitz then praised the extraordinary efforts of U.S. troops fighting terrorism in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere in the world.

"Those troops need our support," he said. "They need to know their countrymen and women appreciate what they're doing, the sacrifices they are making," Wolfowitz emphasized.

American troops are heroes, Wolfowitz said, noting he and the public are grateful for their service in the anti- terror war.

After his remarks, Wolfowitz joined Forte for a tour of the display.

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageDeputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz and June Forte, curator of the Pentagon's 9-11 Memorial Quilt Collection, examine a quilt at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial building at Arlington National Cemetery Sept. 9. More than 100 quilts are on display there until the end of the year. Photo by Gerry J. Gilmore.  
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