The Mother’s Day Project

War is Personal

How The Mother’s Day Project Started

Ravensbruck concentration camp memorial

This description of The Mother’s Day Project’s beginnings was written in early May, 2007. Since that time, more female Coalition members have been killed in Iraq and their names have been added to the work taken on by more than 200 individual stitchers.

We wll continue this project, this endeavor to awaken our sensibilities to the reality of war and the lives lost in Iraq – the soldiers, the women, the men, the Iraqis, the children and all its victims – until this war has ended.

A few years back, I visited four concentration camps in Poland and Germany in the course of a single week. I don’t recommend this sort of punishing travel experience for just anyone, but I did it for a good reason and I’m glad that I did.

There was one camp, though, that haunts me still and at regular intervals: Ravensbruck.

It was a camp for women and children, like women and children don’t already suffer enough during times of war. Hell, even in times of peace. And, here’s what moved me the most – a simple display of the camp’s survivors who, in their ordinariness, revealed more devastatingly than any tribute or memorial could about the extent of what was lost to so many others. Women as mothers, wives, friends, grandmothers. Women in their gardens. Women smiling at the camera, waving on a summer day. Extraordinary women doing ordinary things, in ordinary ways, remarkable because they – unlike so many others – walked out of Ravensbruck alive.

As another Mother’s Day nears, I started wondering how many women soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq? How many mothers, wives, lovers? How many women who would have been mothers, wives, lovers, friends?

As of today, the answer to how many female soldiers have died in Iraq since the beginning of the war is 79. I know their names.

Here is my idea for The Mother’s Day Project. You know the sort of fiber-arts work I’ve been doing lately. I would like to make fabric panels of embroidered collage work incorporating the names of these soldiers. I want to hand-stitch the names on muslin fabric, but I’d like to have many different hands contributing to the stitching. I need volunteers.

I don’t care one whit how accomplished you are with a needle. Anything goes as long as the name is readable. I will provide the names (pre-stamped so you simply outline the letters with stitching) and the fabric and, if you need help with the return postage, I’ll even take care of that detail. Once I have all the stitched names, I’ll assemble the memorial panels.

All I ask in addition is that you record your feelings and experiences with the project on your blog (if you have one) or in a letter.

If you would like to participate, send your contact information to mothersdayproject (at) sbcglobal (dot) net.

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1 Comment

  Spc. Karen Clifton « The Mother’s Day Project wrote @

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