They met in Santa Barbara in the early 1980’s and fell in love

Gary LeGrand and David Wiles both liked living along the coast in California.  They met in Santa Barbara in the early 1980’s and fell in love.  Gary and David were two of the most wonderful guys you could ever meet, ever! They enjoyed many things together.  They loved their dogs, Butch, Sammy Froda, Toby, and Gonzo.  They treated them more like their kids.  They liked good music, the outdoors, good food, and good friends.  No one is guaranteed happiness, life just gives each person time and space.  It’s up to us to fill it with joy.  Gary and David were very successful in doing just that.

These powerful words are from a letter from Larry Lewis, who made a Quilt panel in honor of his friends Gary LeGrand and David Wiles, who died of AIDS-related complications.

This letter, along with other materials are part of the AIDS Memorial Quilt’s archival collections that now rest within the prestigious American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. 

This archival collection currently totals more than 200,000 items. It includes biographical records, correspondence, photographs, tributes, epitaphs, news clippings and artifacts submitted by panel makers that add context about the lives memorialized on The Quilt panels. 

“It’s not about Thanksgiving, it’s not about Christmas, it’s nothing like that, it’s life.”

— Gary LeGrand


40 years of memorial, survivorship and stories of AIDS

The National AIDS Memorial brings 40 years of stories from the pandemic – the lives lost, the heroes, the survivors.  Each week we will share new stories that provide a glimpse into the many faces of AIDS from then to now.

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Our work helps ensure that the lives of people who died from AIDS are not forgotten and the story of AIDS is known by future generations -
so that never again will a community be harmed because of fear, silence, discrimination, or stigma.