Chicago, Illinois — The Eastland Disaster Historical Society commemorated the 99th anniversary of the Eastland Disaster on Thursday, July 24, at 1 p.m. in downtown Chicago.
Due to construction of the new Riverwalk, the commemoration site was slightly displaced. EDHS board members, families connected to the tragedy, and many others from Chicago and surrounding suburbs came to remember and commemorate Chicago's greatest loss-of-life tragedy. One attendee in particular rode her bike 45 minutes to attend this year's ceremony.
Attendees met between Clark and LaSalle Streets, and stood along the north side of the river at the east end of the lower patio at the River Roast Social House -- formerly Fulton’s on the River restaurant.
EDHS Executive Director Ted Wachholz related the story of survivor J. V. Brown while addressing the crowd that had gathered. Ted credited Brown with six of the most compelling words ever stated about the Eastland Disaster when Brown described his fight for life in the Chicago River: "No man is a hero underwater."
A bouquet of flowers were respectfully rested atop the Chicago River by the United States Coast Guard as dozens of people who had gathered paid their respects with a moment of silence. The flowers were graciously donated by Ashland Addison Florist Company.
Preparations are currently underway to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the Disaster next year. "We will always remain true to our guiding principles of preserving personal legacies and family stories, and connecting people to the thousands who were involved," said Wachholz.