CHICAGO (CBS) — City officials have changed the way Chicago receives war dead arriving at O’Hare and Midway airports.READ MORE: Police Investigate Loop Carjacking
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.
“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: Chicago Police Restrict Time Off For Officers; Unclear If Order Is Related To Battle Between City Hall, FOP Over COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate
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: Chicago Weather: A Quiet And Cool Fall Weekend
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.