Saluting generations

LIHUE — General Mary Kay Hertog remembers seeing the quilt during the Kauai Quilt Guild exhibit earlier this year.

“It was beautiful,” Hertog said. “If I had room on my wall, it would be hanging there, today. It ties in perfectly with the theme of this year’s Veterans Day Parade, Honoring Generations of Service to America, hosted by the Kauai Veterans Council.”

The 69-inch-by-60-inch quilt, created by Theresa Murray, appeared at the offices of the Kauai Veterans Center, available for viewing and possible sale through the Kauai Veterans Center.

Centered around Old Glory, Murray’s quilt offers vignettes of Veteran contributions dating back to pre-Civil War to the present.

“I grew up in a military family,” Murray said. “I also worked in the military for 30 years before retiring. My inspiration for this design is the experience I went though. I began to feel many Americans didn’t understand the military, or the contributions by veterans.”

Murray said her son encouraged her to create the quilt, a product of several attempts.

“I trashed my first one,” she said. “I was rushing, trying to finish it in time for a show. When I looked at it, it was alright, but not what I felt was my best work. I must have toyed with ideas in my mind a gazillion times before coming up with a design. I wanted it for a show, of course, but not to rush.”

The quilt evolved as a work in progress, ideas being changed as it took form on the fabric.

“The American Flag and the Pledge of Allegiance,” Murray said. “What did I want to show? Things just fell into place as the quilt grew bigger.”

When the piece made it to the Kauai Quilt Guild, Nene Quilters exhibit at the Kukui Grove Center, it drew a lot of attention, earning top honors in the Embroiderly division, and coming in second place for People’s Choice, an honor voted on by the viewers of the free exhibition which ran for nearly two weeks at the Kauai Society of Artists gallery.

“I thought it was beautiful,” Hertog said. “I voted for it.”

Murray said the awards did not matter.

“My greatest gift for doing this quilt came when I received a phone call from a service veteran who thanked me for doing the quilt,” she said. “I broke down and cried. He said he understood what I was trying to convey through the quilt. After receiving that phone call, I called my son. I called my brother, everyone in my family.”

The phone call from the veteran was not the only phone call Murray received. She received more from other veterans who thanked her for the quilt.

“If I can make a difference in the life of one soldier, then everything is worthwhile,” Murray said.

Her quilt is available for purchase through the Kauai Veterans Center and Museum with a portion of the proceeds benefiting veterans.

The Kauai Veterans Day Parade will parallel the honor of Murray’s quilt, saluting veterans who have served in the Armed Forces from World War II to the current Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Among the groups being saluted are veterans of WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom.

The parade featuring veterans organizations, military vehicles, floats, marching bands, the JROTC units, and more will take place Nov. 5 starting at 10 a.m. from Vidinha Stadium parking lot.

It will make its way on Rice Street, ending at the lawn of the historic County Building where a ho‘olaule‘a with entertainment, food trucks, and crafts will follow.

Deadline for entry forms for the parade as well as crafters and vendors for the ho‘olaule‘a is Oct. 12, 2016.

More info: Russell Maeda: 652-4802 or russmaeda@gmail.com. Dennis Nakahara: 639-4411 or dtn.appraiser@hawaiiantel.net, kauaiveteransdayparade@gmail.com.

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