A Kentucky quilt ready for the W.T.C. firehouse

By Elizabeth O’Brien

Nearly three years after the attack on the World Trade Center, Mary M. Henderson wants to let the city’s firefighters know she hasn’t forgotten their sacrifice and loss.

The Kentucky grandmother spent more than a year cross-stitching the names and company affiliations of all 343 firefighters who died on 9/11 onto a king-sized quilt. Now that it’s done, Henderson, 48, would like to deliver her red-white-and-blue tribute to the firefighters in Ten House across from ground zero.

“I really want to bring it up there,” said Henderson, of Richmond, Ky.

Henderson chose the Ten House after posting a message on a firefighters’ Web site and receiving a response from the widow of a retired fire captain who had served there and who died in the World Trade Center collapse. She found the names and company affiliations of all 343 lost firefighters online and set about stitching them, in alphabetical order, on red and white squares, often working until three in the morning.

“It just devastated me, the number of people killed at the World Trade Center, especially the firefighters,” said Henderson, who was in Washington, D.C. on 9/11.

Henderson took up quilting after being diagnosed with a brain aneurysm in 2000. The delicate work helped restore her powers of concentration, which the aneurysm had badly damaged.

But she insists the story is not about her.

“This is about them, to know other people care about them,” Henderson said. “Even a lady in Kentucky.”

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