There were 1,920 AIDS victims represented by the Names Project quilt when it was laid out in Washington on Oct. 11, 1987. Almost exactly a year later, the number is 9,000 and growing.
Because the quilt already covers the equivalent of eight football fields, this weekend’s display on the White House Ellipse is likely to be the last time it is shown in its entirety, project spokeswoman Sue Baelen said.
“Unfortunately, the deaths continue, so we will go on,” said Baelen at the project’s headquarters in San Francisco. “But I doubt we can ever show it all at once ever again.”
After the display on the circular public lawn behind the White House, a search will begin for a permanent home, where panels can be preserved and displayed on a rotating basis.
About one-fifth of the approximately 42,000 Americans who have died from AIDS since June, 1981, are now represented in the quilt, which when laid out measures 750 feet by 500 feet.