The 2010 All-America City quilt began a 25-city tour today, allowing each of the communities that participated in the annual civic recognition program an opportunity to display the finished patchwork.

“To me the quilt is a vibrant illustration of what is working in American communities,” said NCL President Gloria Rubio-Cortes, noting that each of the 25 communities named All-America City finalists in 2010 added an individual square to the quilt.

“Quilts are an important part of documenting our history,” she added. “The All-America City quilt honors the people from the 25 communities who told their stories and pledged to make their communities stronger, better and safer places to live.”

First stop on the national tour will be Chandler, Arizona. The quilt will visit 19 states during the next year, making its final stop in Middleton, Wisconsin.

The quilt became an instant tradition in 2007, when Gloria, an avid quilter, came up with the idea of asking participants to contribute individual squares depicting something about their respective communities.

Jane McAtee, Corporate Community Affairs and Grassroots for Southwest Airlines, the official airlines of the awards program for the past three years, dropped by the NCL offices to see off the quilt.