CHICAGO (CBS) — City officials have changed the way Chicago receives war dead arriving at O’Hare and Midway airports.
Ald. James Balcer (11th), a Vietnam veteran, joined Ald. Edward Burke (14th) at O’Hare International Airport on Thursday to unveil ceremonial caissons decorated with the American flag, and displaying the insignia of all five military branches.READ MORE: New Mobile COVID-19 Vaccine Sites To Target CPS Students, Families
“A caisson is what you would picture what President Kennedy was carried on. This is what a caisson would be like, in another form that would be dignified, carrying the remains of American heroes,” he said.READ MORE: FBI Seeking Public's Help Finding Devontay Anderson; Feds Say Third Suspect Charged In Killing Of Jaslyn Adams Fled State To Avoid Prosecution
Burke and Balcer sponsored a resolution calling on airlines using the city’s two airports to use a special caisson to carry the remains of service members, after learning of a military casket being placed on a baggage cart.
“Someone had seen a body removed from a plane and put on a luggage cart, and I just think that’s totally unacceptable,” Balcer said.MORE NEWS: Family Of 12-Year-Old Erica Gibson Says Girl Who Accidentally Shot Her Dead In Hazel Crest Had Earlier Posed With Long Gun In Social Media Video
The new equipment will be named after Balcer, who earned three Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star with the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. Balcer is retiring at the end of his term next spring.