ROCHESTER, Minn. — It is a day the nation will never forget. The attacks of September 11, 2001 claimed 3,000 lives and impacted thousands of others.
One local woman is aiming to remember the victims and their families in a unique way.
Some women from around the country created quilts for the New York police and fire departments, EMS, Flight 93 and more. There is one they created for the victims of the attacks that will soon be seen by many and currently sits in New York City.
“It was all hard, it was all hard to face those people,” said Jan Seidel.
The quilt features the faces of all of the victims of the attacks. Seidel said it is an emotional experience every time she helps families looking over the quilt find their lost loved one.
“You deal with that person, they have a story to tell. They want to tell that story about a loved one and where they were at the time, all of it. Can you imagine? 3000, 3000,” Seidel said.
The women came together in 2002 when they decided to make something to remember those who lost their lives that September day.
While they did not want to ask the families to tell their stories, many shared them, and several dozen shared the fact that their loved one was pregnant.
“We put a little precious angel next to that woman and put baby Smith or baby Jones, whoever. So those babies were represented too. I’m sure with 3000 photos there were a lot more than that,” Seidel said.
The quilt that measures in at ten feet tall and 60 feet wide was a project that Seidel and the other women took on with no sponsors, just their own funds, Seidel’s quilting machine and some donations.
“As soon as we needed a little more money for fabric it seems like we’d get a hundred dollar bill in the mail or ten dollars or whatever we needed, it was there. People just came forth and wanted to be a part of this,” Seidel said.
It has been a roller coaster ride of emotions for her and the other women and it will be capped off by seeing the finished quilt featured in the 9/11 Memorial Museum that is set to open this spring.
“It’s just something else to be part of this, I feel so blessed, not proud, privileged, to have been a part of this,” Seidel said.
The planes and buildings featured on the quilt were done by Connie Daniels of Wisconsin. She passed away in August so she will not be able to see the quilt up in the 9/11 Memorial Museum this spring.
Seidel said those were not pictures but actually hand stitched details. Even the Twin Towers have the exact number of floors on the quilt.
Seidel also said that there are still about 80 victim’s pictures that still need to be put on the quilt. She said they should hopefully be there in time to put on before the museum opens.