View The YouTube Video
Mayor Richard M. Daley today dedicated a new plaza created at the entrance to O’Hare International Airport to honor all armed services personnel -- current and past -- who have served the United States.
“This site -- at the entrance to the airport -- was selected to remind everyone who enters or leaves O’Hare of the service and sacrifices of our military personnel,” Daley said at the dedication.
The plaza is located in the highway median between the traffic lanes into and out of the airport.
“We must always be mindful of the brave men and women who are willing to give their lives so that we may live in peace and prosperity,” Daley said.
The oval-shaped Plaza measures sixty-feet long and is forty-eight feet wide. The walls are constructed of pre-cast concrete blocks, similar to other retaining wall landscapes at the airport.
The exterior walls are inscribed with the words “In Honor of Those Who Serve” and can be seen from traffic entering and leaving O’Hare.
Within the oval are nine flagpoles. The tallest pole in the center is reserved for the American flag and the POW flag. The other carry the flags of the State of Illinois, the City of Chicago, the five branches of service and the USO.
Daley pointed out that the connection between the place now known as O’Hare Airport and the men and women of the American armed services is a historic and important one.
During World War Two, the location was known as Orchard Place-Douglas Field, where the Douglas Aircraft Company built C-54 cargo planes for the war effort. After the war, the City picked Orchard Field as the site for a new airport that would lead Chicago’s economy into the future.
In 1949, the City Council renamed Orchard Field as Chicago-O’Hare International Airport to honor naval aviator Lieutenant Commander Edward H. “Butch” O’Hare, a Medal of Honor recipient from Chicago who died in World War II.
“We are proud to call attention to and recognize the valiant service of our active military personnel and veterans at one of the world’s busiest airports,” said Department of Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie S. Andolino.
Both Chicago airports are named in memory of the heroic actions of the military during World War II. Chicago Municipal Airport was re-named Midway Airport in 1949 to honor the Battle of Midway.
“We will continue to work closely with the USO and the airlines to recognize and assist our service men and women as they travel through Chicago’s airports,” the Mayor said. “And we will continue to look for ways -- such as this plaza -- to honor the men and women who have defended our freedom, and the American way of life, for more than 200 years,” he said.
# # #