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In show of remembrance of victims of epidemic, AIDS quilt unfurled at UN

In show of remembrance of victims of epidemic, AIDS quilt unfurled at UN

Raising the curtain on the General Assembly's historic special session on HIV/AIDS, the AIDS memorial quilt was unfurled this morning at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

"The Quilt Movement is a wonderful example of the kind of response we need in facing up to HIV/AIDS," Secretary-General Kofi Annan told those attending the ceremony, which was held at around 8 a.m. He noted that what had begun almost 15 years ago as "one commemoration of a loved one who died of AIDS, has since grown to 50,000 quilts worldwide."

"As delegates from all over the world gather here today for the special session on HIV/AIDS, I hope this quilt will inspire them to join together, like the panels in this patchwork, in a movement of global solidarity against AIDS," Mr. Annan said, expressing his "profound gratitude" to all the members of the Memorial Quilt Movement, and to all the people whose lives it has commemorated.

The President of the General Assembly, Harri Holkeri of Finland, said the quilt would spur participants to action. "I am convinced that this symbolic gesture - the presence of memories of those who have lost their lives to HIV/AIDS - will strengthen our efforts and will to find a strong global commitment to fight against AIDS and to save lives," he said.