Every year on Memorial Day weekend, AIDS quilt panels are placed on display in the town hall of Ogunquit. It is strange knowing that such a sober and moving display lies at the center of Ogunquit village as so many rush to enjoy restaurants, shops and Meadowmere on their Memorial Day vacation to Ogunquit. A calm in the middle of a storm, so to say.
Many visitors miss this opportunity to see the heartfelt memorials quilted together. Though it may not be a typical vacation activity, visiting the AIDS quilt as the panels make their only stop in Maine is worth a moment. The time and care put into the quilts by friends and family is touching. There are simple designs and elaborate memorials contrasted next to each other (see pictures of the quilts online). There is a sense of awe when reading the dedications and profund sadness when glancing at some of the ages. AIDS research has come so far – and yet a new panel seems to come every year. (Local familes can request to have their panel make the trip to be at certain nearby displays – often the only time that they see their memorial of their loved one. And donations made at displays help to find a cure.)
Visiting the AIDS quilt memorial takes just a moment (and it truly takes just a moment to see the displays). If you plan to join in the rush to restaurants, shops and Ogunquit beach this Memorial Day, take a moment to see the calm in the storm and to walk with your hand in your loved ones, remembering the really important things. It's worth a moment.