Re: [MidwestCemeteries] Loss of cemeteries
- No one is fighting for Resthaven -- which is down the street about 3/4 of a mile--
because it isn't at risk. The O'Hare expansion project only includes relocating St.
Johannes, and not Resthaven.
I was there a couple weeks ago to see it for the first time and photograph
the gravestones. There are a lot of them and I had the kids, So I did not
get them all. I posted some at Find-A-Grave.com. I put mine in the
(incorrect) listing of St. J in Cook County, not the appropriate one in Dupage
This is my opinion, which is not the mainstream one for sure. I was very much against
the relocation of the cemetery until I saw it. It literally abuts a landing runway that lands
jets every 2 minutes or so, in the middle of O'Hare right now. It is not peaceful and I
believe that it would be more respectful to move the cemetery than leave it in the midst
of all that. It is the least peaceful place on earth. So many of the stones said "Rest in
Peace" in several languages and I wondered at the irony. Certainly disinterring remains
is not allowing someone to rest in peace either, though, but the shuddering of the
ground must make these people literally roll in their graves.
It is apparent that they are being careful about it - there are new white crosses that I assume
mark bodies found that do not currently have headstones, that must be accounted for.
Again, this is my opinion. If they were my relatives (and they are not, making my personal
opinion irrelevant) I would want them out. It it certainly the last place I would want to be
buried, except maybe Love Canal.
Tracy St Claire
Bible Records Online
At 10:08 PM 8/5/2006, you wrote:
Well it looks like the city is winning the battle to uproot 2
cemeteries in order to expand O'Hare Airport. Funny how in all of the
news stories about this that I read and hear that they mention only
St. Johanne's there are 2 cemeteries on the O'Hare expansion
demolition list, they are across the street from each other. I guess
that since nobody is fighting for Resthaven it doesn't get mentioned.
From today's Chicago Tribune:
Cemetery loses key fight
Federal ruling boosts city's bid to remove graves near O'Hare
By Jon Hilkevitch, Tribune transportation reporter. Tribune staff
reporter Richard Wronski contributed to this report
Published August 5, 2006
Chicago's plan to uproot a 157-year-old religious cemetery and
demolish hundreds of suburban homes in the way of expanding O'Hare
International Airport survived one of its last legal challenges Friday.
The 2-1 decision in Chicago's favor by the U.S. Court of Appeals in
Washington, D.C., leaves O'Hare expansion opponents with one remaining
appeal pending in a lower court, barring any additional filings.
The city still cannot relocate graves in St. Johannes Cemetery until
the legal action is wrapped up. But it can continue to buy homes and
other properties it needs in Bensenville for the airport expansion,
though the village is refusing to issue demolition permits.
The three-judge appeals panel on Friday essentially said the Federal
Aviation Administration cannot be held liable for violating the
federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act because the O'Hare expansion
is a Chicago project.
"The city--not the FAA--is the cause of any burden on religious
exercise because of its role as inventor, organizer, patron and
builder of the O'Hare expansion ... and at the end of the day, the
city will carry out the seizure and physical relocation of St.
Johannes Cemetery," the ruling said.
Expansion opponents had argued the city's plan to move the graves
violated the federal religious freedom law and could prevent "the
physical resurrection" of people buried there.
Rosemarie Andolino, chief of the airport expansion for the city, said
construction is continuing, and the city plans to open the first new
runway, on the north part of the airfield, in 2008.
Airport expansion opponents involved in the litigation--Bensenville,
Elk Grove Village and St. John's United Church of Christ--continue to
press their case in another lawsuit pending in the 7th Circuit Court
of Appeals, based in Chicago.
Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson said Friday's ruling may be
"This is a 15-round championship fight," Johnson said. "We lost round
13. We make no bones about it. But the fight's not over. It didn't
knock us out."
In the 7th Circuit suit, attorneys for St. John's, which owns the
cemetery, said Chicago is violating state law as well as the church's
1st Amendment right to exercise its religious beliefs. They are
challenging legislation that the Illinois General Assembly passed in
2003 that specifically exempted St. Johannes from the state Religious
Freedom Restoration Act.