WINSLOW – Susan Morissette was a 31-year-old mother of four, including six-month-old twins, in September 2001 when her young son asked her if it had been monsters that destroyed the World Trade Center.

Watching the devastation on television with her children, Morissette said there was no way to easily answer her son’s question.

That’s when she got the idea for a small quilt, with panels signed by her children and other Maine children, to send to the families of the attack victims as a means of healing for everyone. It was a way of expressing their sadness and concern — a giant get-well card.

She called it the Heart of Maine Quilt.

That quilt, in the shape of an American flag, soon became the Heart of America Quilt and since has grown to an acre in size, with squares from all 50 states and 14 foreign countries.

If there were monsters that day nearly 10 years ago, Morissette said Monday, then the biggest one of them all is now dead.

“It’s an extremely symbolic day for the 9/11 community,” Morissette said. “The mastermind behind the greatest attack in my lifetime no longer has any power or physical presence. I believe it’s the start of what we set out to do, and while it won’t heal the families of 9/11, it does bring them some comfort.”

Morissette, now a Republican state representative from Winslow for House District 54, recalls assembling those first panels for a healing quilt.

“The first day it was supposed to be a small quilt that would be sewn together and taken to New York and given to family members,” she said. “Within two weeks, we were a national movement. It was shortly after that that we had Sen. (Susan) Collins and at the time, Gov. (Angus) King and Congressman (John) Baldacci all signing portions of the quilt. Firefighters who had draped the flag over the Pentagon had added their names.”

Morissette established an Internet domain for the Heart of America Quilt and slowly built a volunteer staff and a board of directors, which includes a survivor of the Pentagon attack, a retired Navy master chief petty officer, and a retired Army colonel.

Today, she said, there are quilt sections from India, Iraq, Kuwait, Japan, Afghanistan, Australia and Canada, as well as from countries in Europe and Africa, and every branch of the U.S. military.

“There’s portions of the quilt that still travel all over the United States,” Morissette said. “The last time the quilt was shown in full, it was a half-acre in size and we did that in front of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. We had a panel that a soldier carried in his backpack to Iraq and when he brought the panel back and it was presented to me, it was signed by children in Iraq saying ‘Thank you, America; we love you, America.’ “

One family visited ground zero with a piece of fabric and signed it there on site and brought it back to Morissette to be added to the quilt, she said.

The quilt currently is in storage in Maine, as Morissette and her staff prepare for the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

“Our desire is to show it in the state of Maine and to bring it home for the 10-year anniversary,” she said. “That would be fitting.”