Chicago Pays Tribute to the Victims of 9/11 on the Tenth Anniversary.

Chicago Pays Tribute to the Victims of 9/11 on the Tenth Anniversary.

Chicago, Saturday, September 10, 2011. Ten years ago tomorrow, September 11, 2001, was the day our innocence died.  The day started out picture perfect... not a cloud in the sky, an invigorating fall day, filled with hope and energy.  Then crash, everything changed in an instant.

As I watched the horrific events unfold on television--the one, two hits on the World Trade Center's twin towers, I felt as if it were a movie or a bad dream. I couldn't believe that this could be happening in America.  I was numb but tried to continue in a normal way.  I was scheduled to review a play in the city that evening.  My guest called letting me know that there was no way that she would go into the city.  I, of course, had no intention of not going until I received a call that the theater would be closed.  Looking for some normalcy where none was to be found, I went to the city to stop by my office but it was closed and almost everyone sent home.

I wandered aimlessly, viewing the city in a different light.  The Hancock Building and Sears Tower, that had always appeared so powerful to me, looked like vulnerable sticks reaching into the sky.  Our beautiful skyline no longer looked or felt the same. The streets were too quiet, and there was a noticeable and eerie lack of airplane noise--its absence more profound then its presence ever was.

Since, I felt at a loss as to what to do, I headed to Wisconsin.  I remember the patriotism  of people waving flags along the roads as I drove through small farming towns with a lump in my throat and tears blurring my vision.  I remember the horror, but I also remember, how people came together.  I remember how neighborhood after neighborhood flew their flags, how strangers talked to strangers, how people risked and lost their lives to help others. I remember how we held our families and loved ones a little closer and said "I love you" more often.

As we look back on the tragic events of ten years ago and pay tribute to its victims, let us not forget the love, the caring, and the patriotism that this tragedy brought to the forefront.  Let's bring back that feeling of community and rid ourselves of the divisiveness that seems to be creeping into our society.

Put out your flags, say hello to strangers, hug your kids, your parents, your spouse and your best friend.  Tell them you love them and join the city of Chicago in one of its many planned tributes--a sampling of which are listed below.

The Guys, a Reading featuring acclaimed Chicago actors Francis Guinan and Ora Jones, presented by TimeLine Theatre. Sunday, September 11 and Monday, September 12, 7p.m.

The Guys is about the effects of the collapse of the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001. Less than two weeks after the attacks, New Yorkers are still in shock. One of them, an editor named Joan, receives an unexpected phone call on behalf of Nick, a fire captain who has lost most of his men and needs help preparing an unprecedented number of eulogies. This powerful and widely acclaimed play debuted off-Broadway on December 4, 2001, and has since been presented in 48 states and around the world. 
Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport Ave., Tickets are FREE, but donations will be accepted, with all proceeds to directly benefit Ignite the Spirit. Seating is limited and reservations are strongly recommended. To reserve tickets, call the TimeLine Theatre Box Office at 773.281.8463 x6.

Moment of Remembrance.
The City of Chicago will join in the National Moment of Remembrance at noon.  Police cars and fire trucks throughout the city will stop and sound their sirens; various churches across the city will participate by ringing their bells; both O’Hare and Midway Airports will present the American flag; and the CTA will present a commemorative message on digital screens across the CTA system reading “CTA Remembers 9/11 – Let Us Never Forget.”

The Chicago Half Marathon.
The 15th Chicago Half Marathon will be lead by a NYFD fire truck that was on-site in New York City on 9/11.  The fire truck will lead the runners for the first mile of the race in remembrance of the brave firemen who were lost at the World Trade Center.

Mayor Emanuel Pays Tribute.
Mayor Emanuel will participate in a National Moment of Remembrance to pay tribute to the victims and their families as well as the brave men and women of the Chicago Fire and Police Departments in a noon ceremony.  The Mayor will be joined by Chicago Fire Department Commissioner Robert Hoff, First Deputy Police Superintendent Alfonza Wysinger, Chicago Treasurer Stephanie Neely, and 11th Ward Alderman James Balcer. Noon, Humboldt Park, Little Cubs Field. 1339 Luis Munoz Marin Drive.

Webster's Wine Bar Tribute.
In honor of the 10 year anniversary of September 11, 2001, Webster's Win Bar will present "Ten Years Later: Stories from a Post-9/11 America."  Doors, 7p.m.; Show, 7:30p.m. Tickets, $15. 1480 W. Webster.

The Art Institute of Chicago.
On the tenth anniversary of September 11, the Art Institute is offering visitors a time and place for reflection. In Fullerton Hall, a series of images from the museum's permanent collection, specially selected for the occasion by curators, will be shown throughout the day. Six of those works will also be featured for visitors in a gallery guide for that day.

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