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Forty Years Ago

“Support the Troops. Stop the War.” Six words that carry a 40-year overdue date still payable today. They’ve been spoken and seen as long as humans take war too lightly. Let’s everybody take a breath and roll it back four or five decades to a folk song lyric that still asks the daunting question, “When will they ever learn? When will they ev-er learn?” The answer was “Blowin’ in the Wind,” and had everything to do with the loss of 58,000 American service people in Vietnam, most in their greening years.

A small part of the answer came from Claude Walker Jr. of this newspaper. Adopt an army unit over there, in this case, Delta Company. Enlist the help of people and businesses here and boost the morale of the troops by sending them packages of love in the form of candy, snacks, cigarettes, gum, socks, Band-Aids, paperbacks, etc. This custom boiled down to our message of care to those doing the hard work. Here’s an excerpt from a letter written by one of the Delta Company’s troopers:

“We thank all the people of Forest Park for their support. You can’t imagine how great it is for our morale, especially when we come out of the field after a few weeks and have boxes of goodies waiting for us. What you’re doing is greatly appreciated by every one of us-it told us that there are people back in the States who care enough for their servicemen to spend the time and money for our benefit.”

From the Oct. l9, 1967, Forest Park Review

Thirty Years Ago

Hot licks. The fire department was giving a fire prevention demonstration at Garfield School. When it was interrupted by a call reporting the real thing, the kids got an unrehearsed lesson in answering an alarm. Those firemen at the school and the rest at the firehouse headed for the fourth floor of an apartment house at 229 Marengo Ave. where a blaze had broken out causing $5,000 in damages. A second fire occurred-yes, during Fire Prevention Week-at 7443 Washington St. where arriving firefighters found a 16-year-old girl and a neighbor fighting a kitchen blaze with a hallway fire hose. Damage was placed at $3,000. No one was injured in either incident.

From the Oct. 18, 1977, Forest Park Review

Twenty Years Ago

A pipe bomb found in the village was taken by a resident to village hall where Cook County Sheriff’s Police and Arson Squad were called to remove it. The bomb was handled with care-and secrecy. Mayor Lorraine Popelka confirmed the sketchy details. Police reports on an incident such as this are normally available to the Review, but in this case it had been withheld from the public. Why?

From the July 8, 1987, Forest Park Review

Ten Years Ago

It’s 1:15 a.m. on a Tuesday. You’re in your car, and it’s time for you and your passenger to call it a night. You pull into the gas station at 949 Harlem Ave. Your buddy has to go. You pay in advance for your fill-up, and as you return to the pump two burly hulks from the charm school down the block greet you with some heavy metal having nothing to do with Rock’s Top Ten.

“And may we please have the keys to your vehicle?” one Big Dope asks with a courtly nod. “They’re with my buddy in the rest room,” you reply, choked with cowardice. The charm-schoolers become less appealing as Big Dope No. 2 makes for the comfort station.

About that time, Lt. Joe Brynes, no stranger to such gigs, passes by, sizes up, intervenes.

One of the would-be thugs splits (and hasn’t been heard from since), while his partner is engulfed by men in blue who route him from under a back porch in the 900 block of Elgin Avenue, along with a Wilson 9mm.

From the Sept. 10, 1997, Forest Park Review