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Cheyney University Holds 9-11 Commemoration—Displays Healing Quilt

Oscar Gamble

September 11, 2013

The quilt, made by Cheyney University students and faculty 12 years ago in an effort to heal following the 9-11 attacks, is displayed on campus during an anniversary commemoration ceremony

The quilt, made by Cheyney University students and faculty 12 years ago in an effort to heal following the 9-11 attacks, is displayed on campus during an anniversary commemoration ceremony

On a clear, still morning, reminiscent of this date 12 years ago, students, faculty and staff at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania gathered by the fountain near Vaux Logan Hall to honor the fallen and commemorate the tragic events of September 11, 2001.


Professor Marietta Dantonio-Madsen, Chairperson of the Fine Arts, Design and Liberal Studies department and Graphic Design Professor Joel Keener recounted where they were that day and remembered the emotional impact felt on campus and throughout the nation.


On September 11, 2001, Dantonio-Madsen was contacted by US Army Arts and Crafts Division Director Jan Osthus-Kaplan who asked her to collaborate on a healing arts project intended to bring context and comfort to those most devastated by the day's attacks. The resulting project, Operation Healing Arts, U.S.A (United We Stand) culminated with the production of a 9-11 memorial quilt made by Cheyney students and faculty. The quilt has an American flag motif and consists primarily of 10” x 10” canvas squares with white stars in a blue field. The interior of the quilt is made up of various scenes and symbols that artistically express the feelings of the students, acknowledging tragedy, yet projecting resiliency and hope.


Operation Healing Arts, U.S.A. was able to get then-US President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, US Senator (now Vice President) Joe Biden, surviving members of the all-Negro baseball team, Fox Philly and KYW radio personalities, Cheyney faculty, students, and staff, and a host of state and national dignitaries to sign the quilt.  It was displayed on the side of Vaux Logan Hall in this year's ceremony, invoking many emotions from those in attendance.


Yellow ribbons were handed out at the commemoration for all to wear in remembrance of the first responders who perished on 9-11 as well as the men and women of the military who made the ultimate sacrifice in the subsequent war on terror.Toward the end of the ceremony, Cheyney's Director of Bands, Professor Allen Gardner, led a six-piece ensemble of brass and woodwinds in a somber rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing”.