A village in the north suburbs of Chicago is trying to force a couple to remove a memorial to the September 11th attacks from their property.
Leigh Gardella-Wood and her husband bought the Spring Bluff Elementary School property in Winthrop Harbor, which had been closed, in 2011; where they now live with their family. The property included a memorial boulder. As NBC Chicago reported, “In June 2012, Girl Scout Kasha Strathman took the 9/11 memorial on as her Gold Award project, raising money for the plaque that now sits on the boulder, reading ‘We Shall Never Forget’ above a dedication to ‘those who serve.'”
On Monday, Gardella-Wood said that last week the village board told her the sign on the memorial was “obsolete” and she had ten days to remove it or else she could be fined as much as $500 per day. She responded, “I have never heard of a plaque being an issue. There are people who have plaques in their yard all over the place— it is not gaudy, it is not hurting anybody.” She continued. “I think this is needed. We have a lot of people who are veterans. By the village wanting it gone, it hurts. People come here and reflect or to get away.”
She concluded, “I don’t know what to think because I don’t understand what they are thinking. I don’t understand how a community that is so close, that they would find a plaque or memorial obsolete. People worked really hard to have that put there. People died on 9/11. It’s not something we can just forget. It is coming up – how do you forget that?”
Gardella-Wood is exactly right, the village’s attempt to suppress her freedom of speech alone is already horrible, but the idea that a sign saying “We Shall Never Forget,” over the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil, is “obsolete” is idiotic and anti-American.