'Patriot Station' would honor vets and 9/11 victims

(From Feb. 23, 2012)

The commuter train station at 52nd Avenue and 95th Street in Oak Lawn will, if Metra agrees, be renamed Oak Lawn-Patriot Station in honor of the people who died in the 9/11 attacks and in the subsequent War on Terror.

Oak Lawn trustees on Feb. 14 voted 5-0, with Trustee Cynthia Trautsch abstaining, to approve the name change. Trustee Alex Olejniczak (District 2) said he does not think anyone could find harm in renaming the station, and Mayor Dave Heilmann said he supported the idea.

"I love the name, and I love the concept," Heilmann said. "People are coming together for a good reason."

Christina Finn, who runs the Patriotic Pillow Project - a group that sews patriotic pillows and sends them to soldiers overseas - said renaming the station would be a good way to honor civilians and members of the military.

"The Oak Lawn station has one of the most patriotic memorials in Illinois," Finn said in reference to the 9/11 first responders monument sculpted by artist Eric Blome and erected last year at the station. "It has a steel beam from Ground Zero, and is a place for people to pause, reflect, and remember those that gave their lives for our country. I think Patriot Station would be a most appropriate title, especially since Congress dedicated Sept. 11 as Patriot Day."

Jim Garrett, president of the Chicago Southland Convention and Visitors Bureau, also believes the station should be renamed.

"It is a memorial to thank the first responders and victims of 9/11," Garrett said. "It is a memorial for people who love, respect, and defend our country.