It is now December 8, 2016. All the Quilts of Valor have been awarded and Tim and I are at the Pearl Harbor gift shop picking up those last minute gift and seeing the sights and what tours we might be able to take. We were putting our gifts in the back of the car and getting ready to go on a tour of the USS Missouri when we moved a bag and discovered a QOV. Oh no, what do we do? Well, you take the quilt back with you, enter the gift shop, find the veteran with a Pearl Harbor Survivor hat on, and you ask if he has ever received a Quilt of Valor. No? A small crowd gathered as I read the certificate and unfolded the quilt.
Meet Donald Armstrong who was on the USS Tennessee in Battleship Row. He watched as the USS Arizona sank. He was part of 18 engagements.
Armstong shared with me that his mother and grandmother were quilters and this was a beautiful quilt. He took a good look at the stitching and commented this one was done on a machine not like in the old days when they did them all by hand. He said it was beautiful and as I read the certificate a single tear ran down his cheek. I sat down on a nearby bench and he spoke of the screaming, the pain, the panic, and the bravery under fire. He said you know the ones who died that day are the real heroes, not me, I just did what I was told. But the things I saw have kept me from sleeping through the night for 75yrs. I shared how many who have received a QOV have been able to sleep peacefully under there QOV without the bad dreams. He smiled and hugged me and said he would let me know if that worked. His daughter has since sent me a nice thank you note and said he sleeps under his quilt every night and has her bring it to his chair during the day when he gets cold which is often.
NOW the 40th Anniversary Celebration begins….. First a nice walk around the Pearl Harbor memorial center with all it’s information. We both rang the liberty bell.
Next, we went and drove over to Ford Island where we toured the USS Missouri and Pacific Aviation Museum. The things you learn when you have a guide! It was really interesting. By now I am known on the Island as the quilt lady and the tour guide had received a call telling them about the QOV I had just awarded at the visitor center. Received my second coin there after the tour from the gift shop staff with lot of thank yous and hugs. WOW!
Can you believe it I found a quilt at the Pacific Aviation Museum? It is a newer quilt given by a group of quilters on the island.