Moving ceremony opens Lost Heroes Quilt exhibit at History Museum

Maj. Gen. Stephen L. Danner, adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard, speaks at the opening of the Lost Heroes Art Quilt exhibit at the Missouri History Museum at Forest Park in St. Louis. (Bill Phelan photo)

The quilt square representing Army Maj. William Hecker, of St. Louis, who was killed in Iraq in 2006.

The Lost Heroes Art Quilt is 15 feet long and five and a half feet wide.

By Bill Phelan

ST. LOUIS, Mo. - After seeing a casualty list from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan artist Julie Feingold, of Boca Raton, Fl., wondered who the young men and women were who put their lives on the line for our nation.

Inspired, Feingold created a quilt 15 feet long and more than 5 feet wide paying tribute to fallen servicemen and women, this despite having never made a quilt in her life.

Feingold's spectacular creation, The Lost Heroes Art Quilt, went on display Oct. 14 at the Missouri History Museum at Forest Park. The moving opening ceremony included Missouri Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Stephen L. Danner and Maj. Gen. David E. Quantock, commanding general of Fort Leonard Wood, as featured speakers.

"Freedom comes at a cost," said Quantock, "and in this piece of art we see that cost."

The Lost Heroes Art Quilt includes the childhood photos of 50 servicemen and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, one from each state. Each photo is attached to a tiny military jacket corresponding to the military branch in which the deceased had served. The quilt also includes the names of 32 deceased military personnel along its borders.

Feingold obtained the names and photos from the mothers of fallen servicemen and women through the Gold Star Mothers organization. The names and photos represent all U.S. military personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice in both conflicts.

Missouri is represented by Army Maj. William F. Hecker III, of St. Louis, and Marine Lance Cpl. Drew W. Weaver, of St. Charles.

Hecker, a 1991 West Point graduate, was killed in Najaf, Iraq on Jan. 5, 2006. Weaver was killed in Al Anbar Province, Iraq on Feb. 21, 2008.

"This is a remarkable tribute to our fallen heroes of Iraq and Afghanistan," Danner said. "The quilt helps us remember the lives of our fallen heroes and to never forget their sacrifice. When you see this quilt it really brings it home that these heroes were our friends, our neighbors, our classmates."

"A very small fraction of the American population has the patriotism and the moral courage to put themselves aside and come forward to serve their country," added Quantock. "So I appreciate the museum putting this quilt on display, because although the war has touched some, it has not touched many. We have to remember all those who have put it all on the line for our country."

The Lost Heroes Art Quilt will remain on display at the Missouri History Museum through Oct. 24.

After touring the country, the quilt will be put up for auction during a 2011 Veteran's Day gala in Washington D.C. Proceeds from the sale will go to charities that assist military families.

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For more information about this release, please contact UPAR Bill Phelan at 314-416-1868 or cell, 314-556-5428 or e-mail .

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