I haven’t written anything on the Northern Illinois massacre beyond my being astounded by NIU’s president and police chief assertion of satisfaction with the way things went after the mass murder and how my grandfather helped stop an early 1940’s crime spree in Elkton, Maryland, by serving as one of fifty “secret deputies.”
But, today let’s compare tragedies and what was done to commemorate them.
DeKalb is not only place around here where young people have needlessly lost their lives.
One only has to think of the horrible October 25, 1995, Fox River Grove school bus-Metra train collusion in 1995.
Mercifully, I remained blissfully ignorant of the morning crash until about noon.
Meanwhile, my brother-in-law, Dr. Joe Giangrasso, was treating the victims in Good Shepherd Hospital’s Emergency Room and my lab manager wife was running a reporter out of hospital bathroom where he were hiding, among other things.
Millions of people could identify with the District 155 Cary-Grove High School victims, just as they can with the murdered and injured NIU students.
I introduced a resolution which I have put below this story. The resolution designated the railroad crossing “Seven Angels Crossing,” using a Cary-Grove High Schooler’s terminology.
The Daily Herald printed it in full, prompting a local resident to give me a short course in angels. He patiently told me that the dead children were not angels, that that was not Biblical.
Of course, upon reflection, I realized he was correct.
Before I got the call, I had envisioned a sign saying “Seven Angels Crossing” arching over the street where the accident occurred. Of course, that was left up to those in Fox River Grove.
Tomorrow, back to NIU.
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All pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.
The sign at the top and the close-up here reminds us of Governor Rod Blagojevich, oops, I mean Governor Blagojevich’s “Open Road Tolling” initiative. The arch was, of course, financed by tolls paid by motorists. The little girl by her bicycle is looking at the small rock with two brass plaques near where the bus in the picture below sat. The Fox River Grove bus crash photo comes from the National Traffic Safety Board report on the accident.
The Illinois House Joint Resolution follows:
House Joint Resolution 63
WHEREAS, This Body joins with the nation and the world in offering support and sympathy to the grieving citizens of Fox River Grove and the Cary-Grove High School; and
WHEREAS, The entire country was shocked at the tragedy that occurred on Wednesday, October 25, when the Cary-Grove High School bus was struck by a Metra train in Fox River Grove; and
WHEREAS, The accident claimed the lives of seven innocent students: Jeffrey J. Clark, Stephanie Lynn Fulham, Susana Guzman, Michael Bennett, Joseph Kaite, Shawn Robinson, and Tiffany Schneider; and
WHEREAS, Our heartfelt sympathy goes to the families of these young people; classmates and neighbors sign the praises of these bright lights, extinguished too soon; and
WHEREAS, We offer our moral support to the survivors of the accident and their families and friends and our empathy to the bus driver, Patricia Catencamp, an the train engineer, Ford Dotson, with the hope they all will find comfort and peace; and
WHEREAS, House Rule 3-6(a) generally prohibits memorial resolutions; the House has waived this rule and made an exception in order to allow the consideration and adoption of this resolution as an expression of our deep concern for all involved in this tragedy’ and
RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE EIGHTY-NINTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, THE SENATE CONCURRING THEREIN, that we extend our deepest sympathy to the victims and families of the injured and deceased; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the railroad crossing in Fox River Grove be designated “Seven Angels Crossing” and that the Illinois Department of Transportation be directed to erect an appropriate marker in recognition of this designation and be it further
RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be presented to the parents of Jeffrey J. Clark, Stephanie Lynn Fulham, Susana Guzman, Michael Bennett, Joseph Kaite, Shawn Robinson, and Tiffany Schneider, to the principal of Cary-Grove High School on behalf of the students, to Patricia Calencamp, to Ford Dotson, and to the Secretary of the Illinois Department of Transporation.