Northerly Island. In Chicago. There used to be an airport here. Now it’s a park.
And the home of a quiet 9/11 Memorial. No marker. No press release. Rudy Giuliani never stopped by. If you didn’t know what to look for, you wouldn’t even see it.
3 trees. In the shadows of the Chicago Skyline. Just east of Burnham Harbor---named for the man who first envisioned this urban garden when it was all just a stinky swamp. 3 trees. An American Linden, Apple Serviceberry and an Eastern Redbud. One tree for each place the terrorists attacked.
This quiet memorial borne from the folks at Willow House. A Chicagoland grief-counseling center. 9/11 victim’s families who met in the years following the attack. Feeling the ripples of pain that cascaded out across the country on what was in Chicago a stunningly perfect blue sky morning. Right before it all happened.
The folks from Willow House planted trees. The great Chicago journalist Mark Konkol reported the story in this morning’s Chicago Sun Times.
A story of 3 trees. And grief. Quietly.
The reason there’s a place to plant those trees is that one dark night, in one of the more stunning displays of raw political power ever to grace the American landscape, Mayor Richard Daley sent bulldozers on to the runways of that airport and ripped them up for good.
Chicagoans were shocked but not surprised.
One of the many reasons he did it was so no planes would ever take off from the airport and fly into buildings.
So now there is a park. And a place for folks to go grieve.
A quiet place. To grieve.