Chicago remembers 9/11 with sirens, ceremonies
BY KIM JANSSEN Staff Reporter September 11, 2011 5:00PM
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Updated: May 9, 2012 9:47AM
The eyes of the nation may have been on New York City on Sunday, but dozens of remembrance services across the Chicago area showed the atrocity of 9/11 was felt every bit as keenly here.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel led the tributes to the nearly 3,000 victims at a 10th anniversary ceremony in Humboldt Park, urging an audience of around 500 to honor the dead by doing “something for your city, your community, your neighbors, your family, your country.”
After police and fire sirens blared across the sunny park at noon as a poignant reminder of a day of national emergency, Emanuel recalled the days and weeks after 9/11 in which “the world saw this country come together,” calling for a renewed commitment to “something larger than ourselves, so that sense of loss and tragedy means something.” Emanuel mentioned that Sept. 11 is his daughter’s birthday.
Chicago Fire Commissioner Robert Hoff, who rushed to New York City to assist with the recovery effort in 2001, echoed those words. “It’s 10 years later and this country has gotten away from everybody helping each other,” he said. “9/11 — as terrible and as disastrous as it was — showed what people can do when they really want to.”
And Ald. James Balcer, who chairs the City Council’s police and fire committee, paid tribute to those in uniform, contrasting the stoic pride of a horrifically injured Marine he’d met with “people complaining about being at the airport, about having to stand a little longer in line for security reasons.”
Services in Aurora, Barrington, Cicero, Darien, Des Plaines, Evanston, Forest Park, Glenview, Gurnee, Joliet, Lake Villa, Lombard, Mount Prospect, Naperville, Niles, Oak Brook, Orland Park, Palos Heights, Skokie, at the Great Lakes Naval Station and at churches across Chicago were also held.
A single flag was stretched across Soldier Field to mark the anniversary at the start of the Chicago Bears’ season opener against the Atlanta Falcons.
Gov. Pat Quinn, who attended the pre-game ceremony, also joined the families of the nearly 240 men and woman from Illinois who died in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars that followed the attacks.
“We must remember those who have given their lives to protect our country and the debt we owe them that can never be repaid,” he said.