Photo credit: Michael Hnatov
Accession Number: C.2007.44.1
Dimensions: 90 in X 73 ½ in
Dimensions (Metric): 228.6 cm X 185.42 cm
Credit Line: Gift of Dennis and Betty Nielsen and Freedom Quilters for all the 9/11 families
Handmade quilt, titled War Paint, created by Betty Nielsen and the Freedom Quilt project. The red, white, and blue patchwork quilt features twenty traditional quilt square patterns attributed to different quilters. In the center, one patch features a photo transfer of a bald eagle with its face covered by an American flag. Above the eagle is a patch with "God Bless America" printed in blue. To the right of the eagle is another photo transfer depicting FDNY firefighter Dan Potter on the afternoon of 9/11 holding his head in his hands amid a dust-covered street near Ground Zero. The navy fabric border of the quilt features a pattern of stars and American flags.
A resident of Fonda, Iowa, Betty Nielsen, conceived and founded the Freedom Quilt project in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The project committed to sending a comforting handmade quilt to every family that had lost a loved one as a result of the terrorist acts. In the years that followed, Nielsen and her circle of friends and quilters remained steadfast in their determination to satisfy that goal and expanded their commitment to accommodate the diversity and number of families who would receive quilts. Their quilt-making criteria further expanded to include the families of members of the American military who were killed in the line of duty after 9/11.
War Paint was one of the first five quilts created by Nielsen and her team of volunteers.