Date: Nov 15, 2002
Press Release Number: 122-2002
A beautiful hand-crafted memorial quilt, sewn in honor of the 37 Port Authority Police officers and commanders killed on September 11, 2001, was presented to the Port Authority at the former World Trade Center site today by a group of volunteer quilters from around the nation.
Twelve talented craftswomen worked for eight months on the six-foot-by-eight-foot quilt, which includes photographs on fabric of all 37 officers and commanders who were lost. The quilt also includes a photo of the Port Authority police dog Sirius.
The volunteers undertook the project, they said, out of a desire to commemorate the heroism of the Port Authority Police who rushed in to save lives at the World Trade Center, even as most of the buildings’ occupants were fleeing.
The project is one of seven memorial quilt projects currently in progress under the direction of a group known as \"America’s 9-11 Memorial Quilts.\" The organization includes more than 400 volunteers from around the country.
Michael R. DeCotiis, Deputy Executive Director of the Port Authority, said, \"The Port Authority lost 37 brave, dedicated police officers on September 11, 2001 – the greatest one-day loss of life ever by a police force in the United States. The Port Authority is determined to make sure their memories, and the memories of all those who were slain that day, will live forever in a proper memorial at ground zero. We are also very grateful for the deeply felt sentiments of people around the country, including volunteers like those in the ‘America’s 9-11 Memorial Quilts’ organization, who contributed to this magnificent tribute.\"
Charles D. De Rienzo, Superintendent of the Port Authority Police Department, in accepting the quilt on behalf of the Port Authority, said, \"This is an extraordinary gift that comes from the heart and soul of America. Twelve dedicated and talented women spent hundreds of hours to produce this moving memorial. Many others also volunteered their time to contribute to its creation. On behalf of our police force, and the families of our heroic brothers and sisters who made the ultimate sacrifice to save lives on September 11, I would like to express our profound gratitude.\"
Jeannie Ammerman, the quilt’s project director, said, \"We pray that this memorial can help families, friends and fellow officers from the Port Authority heal from this horrible tragedy. This memorial delivers a message: that America will not forget the sacrifice made by the Port Authority Police. Pictures of these 37 heroes will also be included in our larger project, the 9-11 Victims’ Quilt, a 10-foot-by-60-foot memorial quilt that will include all the victims of the September 11 attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.\"
Work on the Port Authority Police memorial quilt began with design planning within one month of the tragedy. Sewing began in February 2002 and involved hundreds of hours of work by 12 quilters from five states. More than 150 different fabrics were used to create the patchwork, in a design using a traditional style known as the \"courthouse log cabin\" style.
Photos of the fallen officers, printed on fabric and measuring 3-by-4.5 inches, are mounted on a red field. The pictures are surrounded by contrasting blue and red fabric strips that help frame them. Surrounding the rectangular red field are the hand-embroidered names of all the officers, embellished with over 750 \"French knots,\" an intricate stitch that is very time-consuming to embroider. Each officer’s name also appears below his or her photo.
The quilt is also adorned with mementos of the Port Authority force including badges, buttons from police uniforms, the PAPD slogan \"Pride, Service, Distinction,\" and hand-sewn depictions of the Statue of Liberty and the American flag. The centerpiece of the quilt, a Port Authority Police shield, is hand cross-stitched, and took one team member three months to create.
Atop the quilt are:
• an appliquéd rendering of the New York skyline including the Twin Towers, in which each building is depicted using a separate piece of fabric;
• a poem composed by retired Port Authority Police Lieutenant William Hoover, which has been entirely hand-stitched; and
• another poem by an unknown author recounting the service of the K-9 officer Sirius, who was also lost in the destruction of the World Trade Center. This poem is hand-stitched as well.
One of the volunteers who contributed to the quilting, a New Jersey fourth-grade teacher named Elizabeth Holley, had a student whose father was killed in the September 11th catastrophe. Ms. Holley was responsible for sewing the poem written by Lieutenant Hoover. Another volunteer was retired Port Authority employee Anne (Schoenfeld) Rodkin of Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.
The Port Authority plans to display the quilt publicly as soon as an appropriate location can be found.
The 9-11 Memorial Quilt organization is also preparing a separate memorial quilt for the 47 Port Authority civilian staff members who perished, as well as quilts in memory of the FDNY and NYPD heroes, EMS personnel, and those who perished at the Pentagon. A gigantic quilt, known as \"the Victims’ Quilt,\" will feature photos or every known victim of the terror attacks.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates some of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; the George Washington Bridge; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH rapid-transit system; the Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.