While working on the House Floor during a session, many of my colleagues and I step into the Speaker’s Office to take phone calls, have a conversation, or greet constituents. This year, I noticed something new — a beautiful quilt sewn together from pieces of red, white, and blue fabric and displayed by Kentucky members of the Quilts of Valor Foundation. I can’t think of a better time than Independence Day to share a little about these quilts and this extraordinary organization.
The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with a quilt made specifically to provide them comfort and healing. Founded by the mother of an active duty soldier deployed to Iraq, the organization is only 17 years old. It has already provided more than 250,000 quilts to recipients in all 50 states. The quilts are incredibly beautiful works of art. They are either hand or machine quilted by volunteers throughout the country. Even the presentation is special as quilts are awarded in a ceremony that honors the recipient’s service.
If you know someone who could find comfort from one of these quilts, please let me know. Also, it is my understanding that they are always looking for quilters, and I can certainly put you in touch with the state members as well. While the pandemic has impacted scheduling award ceremonies, I would love to help get the process started so the groundwork is in place when they are ready to move forward. Of course, if you would like to learn more about the Quilts of Valor Foundation in general, you can find information on their website at qovf.org.
Quilts of Valor is an incredible program, but I’ve been thinking a lot about that quilt for another reason. Over the years, I have heard our nation described as a quilt and agree that this is a great metaphor. The United States is made up of many different individuals who have come together to create and maintain this great land. The symbolism works well because, while stitched together, the pieces retain their characteristics and become part of something even better.
Over 244 years ago, 13 colonies banded together to create a new nation, one free of colonial interference where individuals could determine their destiny. It was not perfect; neither were the men who created it. It was far better than any other nation in the world, and I believe it is still today. After all, we are a nation courageous enough to fight for what matters. Imagine the courage it took to stand up to an empire that stretched across the globe, maintaining a well-trained army and the best navy in the world? Imagine doing so with a ragtag group of men and only a fraction of the resources and manpower. No wonder the world thought we were crazy, then realized that you could accomplish even the impossible if you are motivated enough.
Of course, the real battles began after the British surrendered, and patriots turned their attention to shaping a new nation. Each of the 13 original states had a different vision. Those differences led to passionate debate, duels, and even a few physical confrontations. It took years to resolve the disputes and ratify the final product, our Constitution.
It seems like we live in a time of conflict today. People scream at each other on television talk shows, and keyboard cowboys light up social media pages with personal attacks and demands. There are those who seek to divide us and turn us against each other. However, I believe most of us long for cooperation for the good of our country and everyone in it. Most of us want to believe that we can come together to create a functional whole, just as numerous pieces of fabric can be joined to form that Quilts of Valor quilt in the Speaker’s Office. We want to believe that we can still pitch in together to accomplish great things and set politics aside to do the right things.
I hope you know that I always welcome your comments and concerns on any issues impacting our Commonwealth, even while we are not in session. As always, I can be reached at home anytime or through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 800-372-7181. You can also contact me via e-mail at Chris.Freeland@lrc.ky.gov. You can also keep track of committee meetings and potential legislation through the Kentucky Legislature Home Page at LRC.ky.gov.
Rep. Chris Freeland, represents the 6th District, which includes Lyon, Marshall and part of McCracken County.