Washington, D.C.: Unfurling Their Love and Loss
June 28, 2004
On Friday, 8,000 panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt were put on display at the Ellipse south of the White House. It is the first large portion of the quilt to be unveiled in Washington since 1996, when 40,000 panels covered the Mall.Adapted from:
The panels were put on view for the weekend on the grass of the Ellipse, separated by a black tarp that divided the area into large sections of panels, or "blocks."
The quilt started in San Francisco in 1987. The Names Project Foundation oversees the quilt. According to foundation research, nearly half a million Americans have died of AIDS and nearly a million others have HIV. The number of new infections in the country has not decreased in the past decade, remaining at roughly 40,000 a year.
The showing launched a 50-city tour, beginning in October, that will take a portion of the quilt to shopping malls across the country. The foundation hopes to bring the entire quilt -- more than 88,000 names and growing daily -- to Washington for display in June 2006. Several speakers, including Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson, addressed a small audience of volunteers and family members before the panels were unfolded. Thompson also pledged his support for Sunday's National HIV Testing Day.
06.26.04; Manny Fernandez