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Chicago Sun-Times - - NEWS - Sneed. Michael

A mother’s me­mo­rial . . .

They didn’t know it was there. And they didn’t know what it was; this enigma; this crum­bling mon­u­ment to the un­known. Let’s back up. While cut­ting back Cook County For­est Pre­serve over­growth in the Dan Ryan Woods five years ago, what be­came a long- for­got­ten me­mo­rial was un­cov­ered.

It took a long time to solve the mys­tery of its ex­is­tence. The mys­tery was fi­nally solved. It turned out to be an Amer­i­can Gold Star Moth­ers me­mo­rial; a sym­bol to honor those killed in World War I; a for­got­ten and crum­bling tes­ta­ment in stone com­mem­o­rat­ing the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice of their chil­dren in de­fense of our coun­try.

“It took sig­nif­i­cant re­search to find out what it re­ally was,” said Tim Noo­nan, of the Chicago Coun­cil of Gold Star Moth­ers.

“We took the long for­got­ten mon­u­ment to the at­ten­tion of Cook County Com­mis­sioner John Da­ley, who be­came adamant about pro­tect­ing it,” he added.

“Then for­mer 11th Ward Al­der­man James Bal­cer, a for­mer U. S. Marine who has ded­i­cated his life to vet­er­ans causes, and Modie Lavin of Gold Star Moth­ers were added to the project,” Noo­nan said.

So . . . qui­etly and re­spect­fully, and in ad­vance of Vet­er­ans Day this week­end, the crum­bling me­mo­rial was of­fi­cially “de­com­mis­sioned” in a spe­cial cer­e­mony at its orig­i­nal site at 87th Street and Western Av­enue Thurs­day morn­ing.

“It will ei­ther be re­con­structed, or a new one will be built,” Noo­nan said.

“I am pleased to help in the process of restor­ing this mon­u­ment and find­ing a more fit­ting place for it in the Dan Ryan Woods,” Da­ley said. “Gold Star Fam­i­lies, whose loved ones have been lost in ser­vice to our coun­try al­ways de­serve our at­ten­tion and re­spect.”

A new site for the newly re­con­structed me­mo­rial — which will be re­lo­cated across the street at a vis­i­tors cen­ter and chil­dren’s park in Bev­erly — will be reded­i­cated next year to cel­e­brate the 100th an­niver­sary of Armistice Day.

St. Pat’s chat . . .

At­ten­tion and be­gor­rah! It’s the luck of the Ir­ish. † Trans­la­tion: The St. Pa­trick’s Day Pa­rade next year ac­tu­ally falls on a Satur­day, which just so hap­pens to fall on March 17 — St. Pa­trick’s Day!

† Ir­ish tips: The grand mar­shal of the 2018 pa­rade will be 40th Ward Ald. Pa­trick O’Con­nor — and the guest of honor will be Illi­nois Supreme Court Jus­tice Anne Burke, who cre­ated the Spe­cial Olympics in Chicago in 1967 and will rep­re­sent the Chicago Spe­cial Olympics on its 50th an­niver­sary.

Obama drama . . .

Psst! Sneed hears for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama told bud­dies dur­ing his visit to Chicago this week he is try­ing to ad­just to a low­erkey, slower- mov­ing world — es­pe­cially when he goes swim­ming and the wa­ter isn’t filled with Se­cret Ser­vice agents in boats or wear­ing scuba gear.

And, oh yeah, he and his wife can kid each other now about shar­ing closet space.

The Quinn bin . . .

For­mer Gov. Pat Quinn, who has tossed his hat in the ring for Illi­nois at­tor­ney gen­eral, an­nounced Thurs­day he is do­nat­ing his per­sonal papers record­ing his pub­lic life to North­west­ern Uni­ver­sity ar­chives. A mil­i­tary devo­tee whose fa­ther served in the U. S. Navy, his do­na­tion will also in­clude doc­u­ments re­lated to Illi­noisans killed in ac­tion de­fend­ing our coun­try in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Sneedlings . . .

Happy 31st wed­ding an­niver­sary Fri­day to Skip and Phyl­lis Lanoff. . . . To­day’s birth­days: Ellen Pom­peo, 48; Tracy Mor­gan, 49; Di­plo, 39; and an early birth­day wish to Billy Siegel, age­less.

For­mer Gov. Pat Quinn, who has tossed his hat in the ring for Illi­nois at­tor­ney gen­eral, an­nounced Thurs­day he is do­nat­ing his per­sonal papers record­ing his pub­lic life to North­west­ern Uni­ver­sity ar­chives. @ SNEEDLINGS

| PHO­TOS COUR­TESY TIM NOO­NAN

A Gold Star Mother’s me­mo­rial to honor those killed in World War I was dis­cov­ered five years age while cut­ting back over­growth in the Dan Ryan Woods. It was of­fi­cially “de­com­mis­sioned” in a spe­cial cer­e­mony Thurs­day.

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