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"Memories of Soldiers Told Through Handmade Quilts"

Fonda, IA (KTIV) -


It's a tradition that started after the September 11th attacks on America. In the time since, it has grown to touch more than 7,000-lives and is carried out through just a strand of fabric.

"They learn about a person you knew that meant so much to you," said Daniel Freedman, brother of CPL Dane Freedman.

CPL Dane Freedman's passion was the Marines. He enlisted when he was 17 years old.

"He had quite a spirit," said Freedman. "He never second guessed anything." "He was always the guy telling us to do something."

After returning from two tours from overseas, Freedman's parents say CPL Freedman wasn't the same as when he left.

"He was a great kid," said Donnamarie Freedman, Dane's mother. "Somebody that you wouldn't think would have taken this path."

While on tour, he was hurt only the injury wasn't physical.On December 13th, 2013, Dane took his life at just 25 years of age. Dane suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.

On Saturday, the Freedman's traveled from Pennsylvania to Fonda, Iowa to receive a Freedom Quilt.

"It's not pride, it's honor," said Betty Nielsen, who started Freedom Quilts. "It's a total honor that I can bring, that I can tell a story to each of their loved ones."

Nielsen has told over a thousand stories now. Each story is different. Each story pulling just as much at her heart strings.

"Donnamarie, when she gave me so many patches, I could have made her quilt just with patches," said Nielsen. "But it wouldn't of told the story."

The story of soldiers who gave this country their all. In return, a quilt to wrap around oneself with draped in memories of their loved ones.

"This room is full of people that, they don't know us," said Daniel Freedman. "And they came to see us and here the story."

"It's very humbling to meet the other parents," said Donnamarie Freedman. "It's comforting to know that you're not the only person out here that has lost a son in the military."

No two quilts are the same, Betty says they do have one thing in common: they are made with the same dedication. Next year's quilting ceremony is already being planned. Betty hopes she can continue to tell each soldiers story.

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