• U.S.

Washington: The Patchwork Memorial

1 minute read
TIME

What began as a modest remembrance of a few who succumbed to AIDS has become one of the nation’s most moving memorials. This weekend in Washington, a quilt the size of nearly eight football fields and weighing 16 tons will be unfurled on the Ellipse near the White House. A four-month-long, 20-city tour by the San Francisco-based NAMES Project, which thought up the idea, has swelled the number of the quilt’s 3-ft. by 6-ft. panels from 2,000 to 8,288. Each panel, produced by friends and relatives, commemorates a single life lost to AIDS; stitched together is everything from ashes, photographs and articles of clothing to an air-conditioning vent. The unveiling will culminate a week-long series of events celebrating the anniversary of last year’s March on Washington by gays and lesbians. While the quilt is on display outdoors, it will be guarded by 300 volunteers, who have been trained to fold it in as little as 45 seconds should the weather turn foul.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com