CHICAGO (CBS) — A massive 9/11 memorial in Oak Brook is drawing people from all over Chicago at all hours of the day.
The goal is to make sure – 20 years later – that people of all ages understand the magnitude of what happened that day.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Winter Weather Advisory Remains In Parts Of Illinois And Indiana; Lake Effect Snow Lingers
CBS 2 Morning Insider Tim McNicholas takes us there.
Nearly 3,000 stories wave in the wind; one flag for all lives cut short in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and the 3,000 families missing someone they love.
“Each flag represents someone that did nothing wrong. They went to work, they went on vacation,” said Jerry Cristopherson, president of True Patriots Care, a nonprofit that brought this moving memorial to Oak Brook. “We need to remember what happened that day. We can’t just shrug it off that we got the bad guy that did or coordinated it.”
The display is open all day and night through September 12.
Organizers even lit up the memorial and invited people to speak at the 9/11 Memorial Healing Field about their own experiences with 9/11, including Sue Mladenik.
Her husband, Jeff, a beloved pastor at Christ Church of Oak Brook, was on board the first plane to strike the World Trade Center.READ MORE: Snow, Black Ice Cause Multi-Vehicle Pile Up On Interstate 90
“It was such a horrendous event in our lifetime that we can’t forget, because we can’t get complacent and let it happen again. There can’t be more families like mine,” she said.
At the center of the memorial is an 80 foot star, with each point representing another gut-wrenching moment from 9/11.
Each flag bears a ribbon; blue for police, red for firefighters, and yellow for civilians.
“For every one of these flags, there’s somebody like me and my kids that … I don’t know, it’s hard to explain, it’s pretty overwhelming,” Mladenik said.
The display is called the Healing Field, and wounds this deep take years to heal.
Oak Brook’s police chief said they hosted the display a few years back, and he immediately knew he wanted to bring it back for the 20th anniversary.MORE NEWS: Upcoming Report From Northwestern Medicine Gives Clues About How Long COVID-19 Symptoms Can Linger
There will also be a motorcycle ride to the memorial this Sunday to raise money for charities.