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10 Images

The AIDS Quilt

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Gert McMullin, 50, sits inside her Atlanta workshop repairing the quilt. “I call them my boys,” McMullin said. She also calls them, “my soldiers.” Through the years she has seen it all: wedding rings, cremation ashes, letter jackets, a bowling ball, a Ziploc bag of marijuana, champagne glasses, an air-conditioning vent, feather boas, vibrators, dishonorable discharge papers, and even hypodermic needles. (Francine Orr / LAT)
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McMullin works with panels of quilts in her workshop. New panels have stopped arriving in large numbers, and so did the donations of $200 or more that often came with them. Just 6,000 panels have been added over the past decade. (Francine Orr / LAT)
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Roddy Williams, 34, is pulling down blocks of quilts to be shipped from the warehouse in Atlanta. The Names project Foundation, the nonprofit group that maintains the quilt, has been stymied over how to put the quilt to best use. To pull the whole 54-ton quilt out of storage and display it would cost millions of dollars. (Francine Orr / LAT)
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Deneice Garland climbs on large metal stacks of quilts while pulling down pieces to be shipped from the warehouse in Atlanta. (Francine Orr / LAT)
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McMullin crawls along part of the quilt, seemingly inspecting its panels. (Francine Orr / LAT)
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McMullin, one of the first volunteers to work on the quilt 19 years ago, has sewn all 47,000 individual panels togther into their respective blocks. It’s taken more than 100 miles of stitching. (Francine Orr / LAT)
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McMullin makes a path through panels of quilts to be sewn. The quilt is the size of 24 football fields. (Francine Orr / LAT)
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McMullin is constantly sewing. The seamstress stitches the fraying edges and little tears that accumulate over the years. When she finishes mending a piece, she carefully folds the fabric. (Francine Orr / LAT)
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McMullin spends much of her time repairing the quilt. The Names project received 609 new panels last year -- the majority for gay men long gone. (Francine Orr / LAT)
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McMullin digs through the shelves of the thousands of quilts stored away. (Francine Orr / LAT)
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