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Quilt Honors Lives Lost in 1995 Bombing

Some of the swatches depict weeping angels, others herald heroes who risked their lives and a few immortalize the grief shared by all Americans when 169 people were killed in the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma on April 19, 1995.

More than 200 of these ornately embroidered swatches were stitched together to form the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial Quilt on display at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library as part of its quilting exhibition.

“It goes well beyond just remembering those who died in the bombing,” said library director Mark Hunt. “It also gives support to those who survived.”

More than 21 feet wide and about 8 feet high, the quilt is composed of swatches created by people from across the country and as far away as Australia and New Zealand.

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The idea for the quilt was born shortly after the bombing, whose three-year anniversary will be recognized Sunday.

The finished quilt was presented to the people of Oklahoma City in 1995 as an enduring reminder of the dead, many of them young children.

“I would like to dedicate this block to the memory of Blake Ryan Kennedy, the son of Laura and Steven Kennedy,” wrote Lori Coulsonof Columbus, Ohio, whose swatch is a star with the phrase N’oublie, French for “never forget.”

“I do not have the words to express my pride in all those who helped, or my sorrow over those who were harmed or died . . . so I send you the work of my hands in hopes that it will speak for me.”

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The quilt, as well as the 29 others, will remain on display until Oct. 4 as part of the library’s tribute to the art form and its evolution.

Also on display are a number of other works, some dating to the turn of the century, depicting such things as President Nixon’s resignation, wartime grief and President Bush’s dislike for broccoli.

“If you look at some of these, there’s a lot of commentary about the defining periods of our history, " Hunt said.

For information on the exhibit or other events at the Reagan library, call (800) 410-8354.

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