Prayer Ribbons

World AIDS Day, State House, Boston, December 1, 2011.

Love the journey.*

Prayer Ribbons offer a visual witness

From the lofty ceiling of the Meeting House to the decks of the Boatslip and across Commercial Street, these five-foot long, inscribed colored ribbons will once again be a dominant visual presence at the Provincetown Swim for Life weekend.

– For David – this is the first swim without him

The Prayer Ribbons were initiated in 1993 to provide a visual witness to the swimmers as they crossed the harbor from Long Point to the Boatslip, each swimmer with his or her own personal images, hopes and fears. All are invited to inscribe the names of those they love – and personal messages – to those they wish to celebrate in their lives, both living and deceased.

– Ken – He said he didn’t want to grow old…and he didn’t…with love!

The ribbons commemorate the devastation that AIDS has done to our community, but they also challenge us to live our lives more fully and joyfully. They create a visual statement about Provincetown as a community, its contradictions, its conflicts, its possibilities.

– Peaches.

Don’t miss the dramatic rise of the Prayer Ribbons at the festive Celebration of Life Concert the night before the Swim, at the UU Meeting House. John Thomas produces the free concert in association with the Swim.

– Still talking about you! Eric M.

– For all the brave men & women & children that have fought AIDS, with Love, Jamie

– For Father & Raphael – Smile from above (w/Jane) – I’ll swim hard – Love, J.P

– To the cousin I never got to meet: Donald

– To Billy, The porch light is always on and always will be XXXXX

– To all us survivors

– To all still afflicted.

– Love the journey

* These are names and stories inscribed on the Prayer Ribbons, which now number 2,500.  The Swim for Life initiated the first World AIDS Day event, December 1, 2011, at the State House in Boston.  Prayer Ribbons were featured, with these edited remarks by artist and Swim organizer Jay Critchley.