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Veterans Week – DC

How do you sum up a trip like this with so many Firsts.  It wasn’t just the firsts of some very special moments; it is hard to believe we were a part of history.  When we laid our roses on the Tomb we were dressed in our Quilts of Honor shirts and we honored for all of our Quilts of Honor family who weren’t with us.  To see those roses laid upon the Tomb – we heard 10,000 people had that honor.

The Tomb represents so much to our country and to all veterans. The Sentinels have a bond that is never broken.  It is heartwarming to see them together and the pride they have.  If we could bring that back to this country, it would be awesome.

I was honored to be able to play Taps again at Arlington and have the history of Taps be everywhere so people could see the honor that Buglers give when they play it.  I was also honored to play Taps for the Taps for Veterans Salute at 11:00 am on Veterans Day from the porch of Jeannine and Carl’s house.  Next May 2022, we will have been going to their mansion for 10 years – that is such a gift.  They never care how many I bring with me.  We were spoiled by Jeannine all week.  Too bad Carl was off doing his nonprofit work.  We even got apple crisp for breakfast before we left for the airport.

We gave out some very deserving quilts that we won’t forget.  Sometimes those are the ones you weren’t planning but are the best.  We made more contacts and friends.

The pictures are from the airplane as we left.  We could see the Monuments from above the trees that were changing colors all week.

Thank you to all who watch our adventures.

God’s Blessings
Gail

We began our day at “O-dark-thirty” and drove to Ft. Myer.  We had to get a pass and this time they took our picture.  Debbie had hers and they took mine.  We both looked like criminals.  We drove through the Base to the back gate of Arlington so we could get to the Sentinel Tomb.  There was at least 6 roads closed.  I did more than enough U-turns and we finally got there by me going the wrong way to a handicap parking place.  We went to the Dayroom of the Sentinels, met Carla, and the room was full.  Carla got Lt. Katz to come out and he was still dressing for his walk.  We presented his quilt and you could see he was proud.  He kept saying thank you.  We all then went outside and onto the steps of the Tomb.

We had worn our raincoats and we were thankful for that because it came down pretty good.  Lt. Katz, his mom and dad, had no raincoats.  It was a very moving ceremony.  Lt. Katz laid a rose at each Tomb you will see in the pictures.  When his walk was complete, we heard taps then we went into the Chapel Tomb Sentinel Museum.  This was the first time for us to go into the Tomb Museum.  It is used for their promotion ceremonies and for dignitaries to visit so we felt pretty special and we had all these Sentinel Guards standing all over the place.  We got to see our Quilt which is temporarily put in the glass case.

Carla introduced us to so many people.  I got to stand by the Bugle that was played in 1921.  When we left there we took Carla back to her worksite.  We were driving through the cemetery, got to the back gate, and there stands the US Army Band called ”Pershings Own”.  The guard tells me that it might be a while as they were going to play for a funeral.  I said, “Ma’am, I am an Army Band veteran so I will enjoy this.”  We opened the windows, turned our videos on and I loved it.  We were given a special treat.  We decided to head back to the mansion and get our box ready to ship.  So we headed to Annapolis to have lunch and look around.  We didn’t have much time but we did enjoy it.  We got back in time to have apple crisp that Jeannine made.  We are going to miss being spoiled.

We fly out in the morning.  This has been another trip of a lifetime.  It will inspire us to design and quilt more after all that we have seen this week.  Quilts of Honor is very much loved here.  We will be back next summer.

Thank you to all at home who took care of the folks and our dogs and held the shop together.  Love you all.

God’s blessings,
Gail

Veterans Day in DC

Today was Veterans Day in a different city than Quilts of Honor is used to – What a Day!

We got to start our day with Jeannine cooking us a Dutch Baby, it was yummy.  We than began getting our quilts ready.  It took all four of us – we looked like a sewing factory.  I even got Debbie to sew on labels and Jeannine quality controlling the quilts.  Flo was organizing, so what a crew.  We broke at 11:00am so I could play taps for the Tribute for Taps for Veterans on the front porch of the mansion.  That was pretty cool.  Then we had lunch – check it out in the picture.  I got spoiled today as it was Veterans Day.

We got dressed for our event with Uniting Us at the Honfleur Gallery.  Parking was a trip around and around and around the block and finally we got right in front with AnnMarie throwing her body in front of the space.  It was a great show and the work our veterans are doing is amazing.

We began the show and AnnMarie (United Us) gave us first up.  We gave our first quilt to a Marine who was a piano player at one time in a band.  He stayed late not knowing why but after he got his quilt he said it was so worth it.  The next two quilts were to a father, Vietnam veteran and his son, Operation Enduring Freedom veteran.  Both were surprised by their quilts.  Then came Sue, a Navy veteran who cred and said she was going to shoot her friend who had got her there but she was so honored.  Then came April, my Army sister who I had the pleasure of doing my story with in August.  I loved how surprised she was and that quilt was made for her.  I got a big hug, too.  The last was a Vietnam veteran who ran the Gallery.  He was so chocked up.  He said we can come back next year right here and do a show in the Gallery.  I got a hug from him, too.

So, what a night.  If the color isn’t right on the quilt pictures it is because they had red lighting.

We enjoyed our evening and had a great time at the event.  We met a few of the ladies we had given quilts to in August and they all were thanking us and telling us how much they loved their quilts.  We ended our evening at Union Street Grill for dinner and Pop’s Ice Cream and yes, Ginny, 3 times this week but it was veterans’ week.

Jan posted my taps on FaceBook to all my veteran brothers and sisters – we never forget you.

Stay tuned . . . . . . . .

God’s blessings,

Gail

HAPPY VETERANS DAY

Tour Day – Williamsburg

We enjoyed going to Colonial Williamsburg today.  It is so different from anything we have seen.  We got to see a musket fired – that was exciting.  We walked the streets but it was huge and we couldn’t see it all.  The walkways were cobbled bricks which made it hard on our legs walking.  It was so beautiful.  The trees were turning colors and it was 70 degrees and you all were having rain and cold.

We left the colonial area and stopped at the biggest outlet mall we had ever seen.  We had to wear masks in most stores unless you were vaccinated.  So we often had our masks hanging around our arms in case we needed them.  We were in the Columbia store when we asked Flo where her mask was.  She said she had it when she came in so Debbie and I started tracing everywhere Flo had been.  If you have ever been shopping with Flo, that means all over the store.  We couldn’t find the mask anywhere and Deb remembered that Flo had been trying on jackets so Deb digs in the sleeve and there was the mask.  Flo says, “Oh no, now I am going to make the blog.”  I said, “Yup.”  Flo does keep us laughing.

We went to Cracker Barrel for lunch/dinner and you can see the Pot Pie Debbie had – it was huge.  Cracker Barrel never lets us down.

We stopped in Fredericksburg to see the old town, walked a little, and then headed home back to Alexandria.  We did do a drive-by to pick up Alexandria cupcakes.  The streets were so busy that I had to drop Debbie and Flo off to get the cupcakes and drive around the block.  When I came back around to pick them up they said an old man had been trying to pick them up.  They were cracking up.

We had a great day.  We are tired but much to do the next couple of days.  Happy Veterans Day 11Nov2021 to all my brothers and sisters.

Stay tuned . . . . .. . .

God’s blessings,
Gail

One Day of History

We began our morning early again but so excited to be a part of history.  Jeannine, Debbie, Flo and myself drove to Arlington National Cemetery.  We got there to a line of cars being checked through Security.  We got through the gates okay thanks to Jeannine’s pass.  We drove by Jack Kuhl’s grave (Jeannine’s father) as we drove up to the backside of Arlington trying to find a parking place so we didn’t have to walk miles.  There were cars and cops everywhere.  There were so many roads that had been blocked off.  We ended up parking ½ mile from the Tomb.  We had to walk down and up the hill finally reaching the Tomb.

When we got there the line was about half way from the Tomb.  We could hear drums beating from the center of the Amphitheater but we weren’t allowed near it.  We just followed the line until we reached the tents.  There were piles of roses under the tents and the volunteer told us over 40,000 roses were there for the tickets that were eligible to lay the roses.  No one really told us what to do but there was no noise anywhere as part of paying respect to the Unknown at the Tomb is no noise.

Right when we got to the front of the line I see SSG Silva, Sentinel Guard, off to my right.  I wave at him and he comes over.  I asked if he remembered us, QOH, and he said yes, of course.  I asked if he would take our pictures.  “Sure, and I’ll meet you on the other side as you come out.”  We decided to stay together and lay the roses all at once. You would have thought we had rehearsed it.  It was so special and we were all by ourselves up there.  Flo said she looked for the Tomb from Vietnam to lay her rose because of Johnnie but she saw the WWII dates and it reminded her of her dad.  Debbie said it reminded her of what her dad went through but she felt so honored that she started to cry.  Myself, I saluted like every other veteran that got to stand in front of that Tomb.  I knew we were a part of history and every time I think about it my heart hurts but in a good way.  This was the first time in 96 years that private citizens could do this and it will never be done again in our lifetime.  The honor was beyond amazing.

We left there and Debbie and I walked to get the car so that Jeannine and Flo wouldn’t have to walk so far.  When Debbie and I were walking among the graves at Arlington, it felt so sacred and I told her you know we have a lot of angels watching over us to be able to do what we just did – met the SSG at the right time, find a parking place, and as we often say, a God Thing.

So what a day but that wasn’t the end.  We decided to take some time off and drive to Williamsburg, VA and spend the night.  We started driving down the backroads of Virginia and came up to an old deserted church.  I did a half turn to get a picture and the no trespassing sign didn’t stop me.  Then we saw a barn and made a U-turn to get a picture for Mom.  We really were working our way and then see a sign, Belmont Distillery.  Guess what – detour down a dirt road and it was a whisky and moonshine distillery.  We walk in as I am excited it is my last name, and here stands an Air Force veteran working behind the counter.  In came a VIP tour and Dave, our veteran, took them into the distillery.  We asked Cheryl, who also worked there, if we could interrupt him because we wanted to honor him.  She said sure, so out to the car we go to pick a quilt.  We came back in and walked right into the back room in front of the distillery and presented him with a quilt.  The group was really shocked.  Dave was, too, but he gave me a hug and I knew it really reached his soul.  I could see it in his eyes.  He was also born and raised in California – small world.

We left there even feeling better having presented a quilt at Belmont Farms.  We did reach Williamsburg late afternoon, had a good dinner, and will be a tourist tomorrow.  But, what a day.

The colors were even better today but I didn’t want to bore you with more color pictures.  The weather yesterday and today has been beautiful.  I thank God for this special day and for all of you at home holding down the fort.

What a history making day in Arlington at the Tomb.  What an honor.

Stay tuned . . . . . . .

God’s blessings,
Gail

Tour Day – Monticello

We rushed out of the house so we could get on the road.  We drove as many back roads as we could to find colors and not so much traffic.  I made so many U-turns but the best thing was the colors of the trees.  They were so beautiful I didn’t mind.

We got to Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, right before our scheduled tour time.  I really didn’t know what to expect.  They put us in a shuttle but before we could go, they busted me for my pen knife with cats all over it.  I wasn’t giving it up so Debbie took it back to the car.

This home is set up on the top of a hill that looks all over Charlottesville, Virginia.  It is a view anyone would admire.  With all the fall colors, it was awesome.  I know if Tony, Lou or Rita were with us they would have shot me by now.  I said look at the colors so often.  We enjoyed our tour, stopped in the gift shop, and had Root Beer made by Monticello.  It was the best Root Beer.  We went to see where Jefferson was buried and decided to walk back down the hill so we could see the colors all along the path way.  Some of the best things on the tour were the sewing needles and the tunnels used by the slaves to take stuff to the house.

We really enjoyed the trip but we hadn’t eaten since early and it was 2:45pm.  I had seen a sign for a Tavern so said let’s go try it.  We didn’t know what we were going to but we were hungry.  We got there 15 minutes before closing and it was a southern buffet.  I was a happy camper.  The food was amazing and the peach cobbler was the best.

On the way home we took a detour to Pop’s Ice Cream.  We weren’t passing that up.  Such a great day.  So thankful to enjoy the country.  Tomorrow we start the morning early.  We will be at the Tomb to lay a rose.

Gods Blessings,
Gail

Special Day at Arlington

We began our morning with homemade biscuits.  Boy, was I thankful for those biscuits after we got to Arlington.  It was cold and those biscuits stuck to my ribs and helped.  We got to Arlington in time to pick up Annmarie, Uniting US, to spend the morning with us.  It was so beautiful up on top of the hill at the Tanner Amphitheater.  The flags were flying in the wind.  It is such a sacred place and then to be able to play on such a special day – 100 years of the Tomb.  All the buglers were dressed to play.  There were lots of different horns, every color and size.  We played great.  Most everyone had tears in their eyes.  I was proud to be a part of Taps for Veterans.   Jari did an awesome job for us all.

When we finished we walked up on the stage to award Gavin, Sentinel Honor Society President and Army Veteran, his quilt.  What a great place to award a quilt.  I sent Flo to the car for a quilt to present to Angelo, an Air Force veteran and bugler.  We surprised her and she cried.  It was great as her family looked on.

We finally headed to the car.  We had parked next to the Gold Star National President.  She got out of the car and was asking Annmarie for directions when we found out the two Gold Star moms in the back seat were veterans.  We asked the ladies to step out of the car.  We had two extra quilts left in the car.  We grabbed both of them and I went to both ladies, shook their hands, and thanked them for their service.  They both were so surprised we could thank them for their service which no one had ever done.  For those of you who do not know, Gold Star means you have lost a son or daughter who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  What an honor to give them a quilt for their service to our country.  They sacrificed so much.  We are always in the right place at the right time and I am so thankful for the blessings we can give to those so deserving.

It was such an honorable day.  Over 50 Buglers played the most special 24 notes at the most sacred military cemetery in our land.  Then to honor some of our veterans – our hearts feel so good.

We finished our evening with Jeannine fixing dinner but you will never guess what it was – tuna with biscuits.  Ha, you know I wasn’t going there and thank god Jeannine knows me and I got leftover lasagna.  I was a happy camper.  Tomorrow we think and hope for a day off.

Stay tuned . . . . . . . . . .

God’s blessings,
Gail

Long First Day

We worked on quilts most of the morning getting ready for the week.  We took over Carl and Jeannine’s house – quilts from one end to the other.  We had a great frittata that Jeannine had made for breakfast.  By the time we finished it was time to drive into DC for practice at the WWI Memorial.

We learned much of the history about the Memorial from Jari.  We practiced for tomorrow and I met a female veteran from the Air Force who came from Houston TX, another lady from PA and a lady from New York.  There were about 20 of us but we are going to have 75 plus tomorrow.  It is going to be 48 degrees in the morning so might be more entertaining with Flo and Deb trying not to freeze while I play.

After practice we headed back to our “Mansion” where we had homemade lasagna.  We got a special fruit cake for dessert from our favorite bakery.  We wanted to spoil Carl as he is leaving tomorrow to work with his Nonprofit building and repairing damaged homes from storms where people have no home insurance.

So, a busy day.  Don’t forget to set your clocks back.  We are so confused with all the time changes.  Wonder if we will know what day it is.

Stay tuned . . . . . . We will be back.

God’s blessings
Gail

Friday – Travel Day to DC

Here we go again, on another adventure.  Our travels didn’t start at ‘0-dark-thirty” but they sure ended at “0-dark-thirty”. 

On this trip are Flo, Debbie and myself.  Here we are, three old ladies.  Debbie had shoulder surgery not too long ago and was wearing her brace.  I had my knee braces on and Flo is in the middle seat.  What a site.  You know there is no room in-between the seat in front of you.  We have 3 backpacks and 2 snack bags so we are smashed in the row like sardines.  We could hardly reach to get our snacks that we for sure weren’t going to leave at home.  We had to wear our masks so we couldn’t hear a darn thing either.

I look over at Flo in the middle seat and she is pawing at the floor with her foot.  I said, “what are you doing?”  Debbie had dropped her special Southwest snack on the floor.  Debbie can’t move because she is bound up in her arm sling and Flo has started laughing.  I unbuckled my seat belt, leaned across Flo and saved the crackers.  Boy, if someone had had a video, we might have made some money.

We got our rental car before midnight and then we were off to bed.  The moral to this adventure, don’t drop your crackers with three old crippled ladies.

I would like to take this moment to thank all of you who attended Donna Cashman’s funeral.  It is never easy to lose those we love and we felt so bad that we couldn’t be there to support the Cashman family, Betty, Delphia, Ginnie and Marty.  Donna will always be in our hearts.

God’s blessings

Gail

9/11-The Day We Will Never Forget

It is hard to believe that it has been 20 years since life changed for so many.  We, at Quilts of Honor, are part of that change in many ways.  We give to so many of our veterans who 9/11 changed their lives.  Many joined the service to defend our freedom after America was attacked.  So many Americans wanted to help after the attack, they just didn’t know how.  For some it took years to find ways to help.  Our help came by providing quilts to those wounded mentally and physically.  We have never stopped nor looked back.  I know that day, for many of us, made us stronger Americans.  We honor all the fallen from that day and those who continue to lose their lives from the effects of the Trade Center.

To all our volunteers who continue to stitch, we know it is a labor of love. 

We will never forget.

Because it is 9/11 and I belong to Taps for Veterans, we were asked to play at sunset so I decided to play in my special place, TTT Tahoe Timber Trails, where we have a camp site. Everyone thought this was awesome. They even moved Big Red, the Fire Truck, down to location so it could be included.

I couldn’t let the day go by without honoring a Vietnam veteran who has a campsite here. His wife had asked me to come and play taps at their flag pole. I only said yes so that I could give Bill a quilt. We surely surprised him and and his guests.

We ended our day with me playing at sunset and honoring all of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

God’s blessings,
Gail