The ceremony will include a color guard and the playing of "Taps." It will take place where the crumbling concrete and stone structure now stands on the southeast corner of 87th Street and Western Avenue.
A small plaque that reads "Chicago Council of Gold Star Mothers" is all that remains on the monument that stood shrouded by tall weeds for years. Some riders waiting at the nearby bus stop had even begun using the marker as an outdoor toilet.
A group of volunteers cleaned up the area April 29, 2016, once the problems came to light. Timothy Noonan, a Beverly resident, and others then launched an effort to move the monument closer to the visitors center on the northeast corner of the intersection.
But background information about the mysterious marker has been difficult to come by. Local historians have thus far come up short, particularly as it relates to finding any information that may have appeared on what looks to be a missing bronze plaque on the front of the marker, Noonan said.
The Washington, D.C.-based American Gold Star Mothers Inc. also has been unable to provide any answers concerning the monument on the Far Southwest Side. This national group is made up of "mothers who have lost a son or daughter in the service of our country," according to its website.
Noonan said the search will continue for more information on the monument. In the meantime, what remains of the marker will be documented, disassembled and stored following the ceremony, he said Wednesday.
"We hope that we can find the information that was on the original plaque. If not we intend on re-imagining the monument as a different structure," Noonan said.
Cook County Commissioner John Daley issued a written statement Thursday saying the ceremony is the first step in the process of restoring the faded monument. Both he and Noonan have previously said a fundraising effort will be needed to pay for the new marker.
"Gold Star Mothers, whose sons and daughters have been lost in service to our country, always deserve our attention and respect," Daley said. "I am hopeful that we can bring about a fitting restoration of this monument so that it truly honors local Gold Star Mothers past and present.”
Early discussions about the reconfigured monument have included using some of the rocks from the existing structure as part of a walking labyrinth used to promote peaceful meditation. But no official designs have been agreed upon.
Regardless, Noonan hopes to have a rededication ceremony Nov. 11, 2018 — the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day.
For more information about the ceremony or how to help restore the monument, call the Chicago Council of Gold Star Mothers at 773-980-6043 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.