Reporting John Cody
CHICAGO (CBS) – A daylong memorial for the 6,600 Americans killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was scheduled for 9:11 a.m. Friday at the plaza outside the Thompson Center.
Laurie Ipsen, director of Chicago Welcomes Home the Heroes, has enlisted some 60 readers for the “Reading of the Fallen” ceremony, including Ald. James Balcer (11th) – who is a Vietnam veteran – and dozens of Gold Star parents who lost sons and daughters in the combat in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“We’re just trying to honor those who answered the call after September 11th,” she said. “We thought it would be significant to start at 9:11 a.m.”
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Ipsen, a restaurant manager, worked 10 months with English teacher Christopher DePhillips to organize the memorial for the 6,600-plus Americans killed since the terrorist attacks on 9/11.
“They just deserve it, you know? They had the courage to step up and do what many of us wouldn’t do,” Ipsen said. “They fight for our freedom every day, and it’s our duty as civilians to offer them support when they come home.”
Ipsen estimated, with each of the 60 speakers reading off 100 names, the memorial ceremony should take from 10 to 12 hours.
Gov. Pat Quinn will read the first 100 names to start the ceremony.
Ipsen said the program took so much effort that DePhillips took a leave from his job to help organize it.