Throughout its history, the United States has remembered its military heroes in many ways, with plaques, parades, statues and memorials. The Home of the Brave Quilt Project was started to continue that proud tradition in a less than traditional way. We are dedicated to honoring our fallen heroes of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by making and presenting homemade quilts to their families.
The quilts are reproductions of Civil War quilts based on one of the few existent Civil War U.S. Sanitary Commission quilts owned by the Lincoln Memorial Shrine in Redlands, CA. These quilts are then presented to the families of our fallen heroes as our way to honor and show our gratitude for their soldier’s service and provide a measure of comfort to their families. The quilts are adorned with inspirational messages and condolences.
The Home of the Brave Quilt Project has now spread to all fifty states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Territories, and has honorary chapters in England, Germany, and Australia. Because it is a genuine grassroots movement, this quilt project has struck a national cord, receiving recognition by many military and political figures as well as noted quilt institutions. It has been featured in numerous newspaper and magazine articles as well as local and national television news programs. Perhaps its greatest honor has been the wonderful letters of gratitude from families who have received the quilts.
The original Civil War quilts were made by Northern women, during the Civil War, as part of a supply drive by the U.S. Sanitary Commission to aid the Northern war cause. The U.S. Sanitary Commission, a volunteer organization charged with overseeing the sanitary conditions in the Union military hospitals, recognized that there was a terrible shortage of bed coverings, bandages, socks, and other clothing articles in the hospitals. They, contributed significantly to alleviating the suffering of soldiers, and was the forerunner of today’s American Red Cross.
Northern women, in the four year period of the Civil War made an estimated 250,000 to 400,000 quilts for the cause–all by hand. The original quilts measured approximately 48 by 84 inches, the same size as a hospital cot. Today, only five of these quilts are known to be in existence.
Because of the shortage of finished textiles in the Confederacy, Southern women gave Southern troops priceless family heirloom quilts. The quilts they made were often from homespun cloth and used newspapers, as lining, to provide warmth. Southern women contributed to fund raising events by raffling quilts to raise funds to buy Confederate gunboats. These quilts were often raffled more than once and the women who made them were affectionately known as “Gunboat Ladies”.
Please find directions to make a quilt here Home of the Brave Quilt Instructions
If you were like to donate a finished quilt, quilt top, squares, batting, quilting services, please call or email one of the TVQA Home of the Brave co-coordinatos, Sena Frank (Tennessee) at 615-636-7733 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Susan Mock (Tennessee) 615-797-4300 or email@example.com; Jo Reid (Alabama) at 256-259-2442 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2014-2018 Tennessee Valley Quilters Association, last updated 4-3-18