LOCATION: East of S. Museum Campus Drive on axis with Soldier Field
INSTALLED: 2006, 2010
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Wolff Landscape Architecture, Inc.
SCULPTORS: Julie Rotblatt-Amrany and Omri Amrany
ARCHITECT: David Woodhouse Architects
The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation commissioned the $3.5 million
Gold Star Families Memorial and Park, a five-acre area of Burnham Park
east of Soldier Field. Dedicated in 2006, the memorial pays tribute to all of
the police officers who have died in the line and performance of duty since
the formation of the Chicago Police Department in the 1830s.
At the north and south entrances, two towering pylons represent a set of
open doors and serve as the gateway into the memorial. These stainless
steel pylons have a geometric motif referencing the iconic checkerboard
pattern used on the hat band of a Chicago police officer’s uniform.
This motif is repeated in other elements of the memorial.Beyond the north
entrance to the memorial, there are four “virtue and value spaces,” denoting
the characteristics of courage, honor, service and commitment to family.
To the south, a large lawn area has a water wall with Burnham Harbor as
its backdrop. This central gathering place is the location of the Chicago Police
Department’s yearly candlelight vigil. The adjacent area, known as the
“sacrifice space,” is the spiritual heart ofthe memorial. It is enclosed by a
circular concrete wall that has a band of black granite inscribed with the
names of more than 450 officers who died in service to the city.
During the design process, members of the Chicago Police Memorial
Foundation stressed the importance of conveying a sense a life in this area
rather than just focusing on grieving and death. Therefore, this area
evokes a sense of calm and protection. Adjacent to the “sacrifice space” is
the “living sacrifice space,” an area which honors officers who have
suffered grievous injuries in their service to the city.
In 2010, the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation commissioned a bronze
sculpture for the “living sacrifice space.” Created by Julie Rotblatt-Amrany
and Omri Amrany, the highly realistic sculptural grouping depicts a police
officer in a wheelchair with his hat on his lap, surrounded by his family and
another officer. The sculpture’s base sits on pavement that is embellished
with a symbolic blue star, and there are several other blue stars on the
adjacent concrete wall.
2014 names added to the Memorial Wall:
1. P.O. William Buck – Shakespeare St. Station, EOW 28 Nov 1941
2. Det. Nicholas Connelly – Woodlawn Police Station, EOW 09 Oct 1962
3. P.O. Gary M. Gradle – 004th District, EOW 05 April 1996
4. Lt. Patrick McGann – Gen. Assignments Unit #3, CID, EOW 13 Jul 1977