Thursday, December 1, 2011

World AIDS Day

In 1996 I went with my two friends to the National Mall in Washington DC to view the AIDS quilt.  One of my friends had recently completed a panel in memory of her uncle who had recently died.  The quilt filled the entire mall (that is 1600 x 120 meters).  I spent the day meeting other friends and family members who had sewn panels in memory of loved ones.  In many cases AIDS patients in hospices were working together to sew panels for each other so that they would not be forgotten.  I remember protesters holding horrible signs at the perimeter of the area.  I remember sitting on the grass in front of a panel with a cigarette encased in it; the deceased person's friend explained that when he was too weak to smoke he still enjoyed holding the cigarette to his lips.  Later that night there was a candlelight march that lit up the mall in a sea of light.  I returned to my room in the early morning hours and broke down crying. 

It is 2011 and millions of people still die every year. 


The quilt in 1996 (source: http://foundsf.org/images/f/f7/Gay1$names-quilt-dc.jpg)

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