Antioch veteran dies 2 days after bagpiper tribute

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James O'Connor has lived in the same house in north suburban Antioch for decades. His neighbors wanted to do something special for him in the final days of his life. (WLS)

A north suburban veteran has died two days after a community rallied to honor his dying wish.

Senior Chief James "Jim" O'Connor, 91, died in his sleep surrounded by friends and family on September 16. Neighbors said they plan to lay flowers next to the flag in his yard until sundown on September 18.

O'Connor served in three wars, raised two children and four grandchildren, and lived in the same house in north suburban Antioch for decades. His neighbors wanted to do something special for him in the final days of his life.

He was met with a standing ovation and then the national anthem on Tuesday night. Hundreds lined the streets to salute O'Connor, whose health has taken a turn for the worse. His only request in hospice care was to hear bagpipes. That request was fulfilled in a big way.

"In 24 hours, this is what Facebook is capable of. This is what social media can do for the good," said Mary O'Connor, his daughter.

The Northern Illinois Bagpipes played for 30 minutes. A sea of men and women in uniform, neighbors and families with young kids, and even complete strangers showed up to honor a true American hero.

"He comes for a generation who thought about others. We need more Americans like him," one neighbor said.

The mayor also declared it Jim O'Connor Day in the village of Antioch.

Related Topics:
societyveteranlive musicfeel goodAntioch
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