Posted9/17/2013 4:40 AM

We are not a war zone

On Sept. 9, the Village of Glen Ellyn board of trustees held a public meeting regarding the proposed Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district along Roosevelt Road. A couple of upset Glen Ellyn residents attended to voice their misgivings that my neighborhood, the Parkside apartments, had been removed from the TIF district. They even publicly labeled our neighborhood a "war zone."

Of all the unfounded insults that could be thrown at our community, I find this to be the most ironic of choices. Our neighborhood is composed of many families who were forced to flee their home countries because they lived in actual war zones. Whether military forces were systematically wiping out their people based on religion, or they found themselves caught in the throws of violent civil unrest, or they were given an ultimatum by the government to leave or be killed because of their ethnicity, they share a common interest: if there's anywhere they absolutely don't want to live, it's a war zone.

In fact, our community is probably one of the safest choices for all who reside here. Here, those who once ran for their lives in terror can find a bit of rest for their weary souls. Here, people aren't afraid to let their children play outside. Because here in my community, there's no gunfire, bomb blasts or other unending sounds of battle. If you listen, what you'll hear instead is the delightful giggle of little ones, the occasional singalong in a native tongue, and the easy banter of neighbors who know each other well.

If you think my community is a war zone, take the time to step into it. Maybe you'll be astonished by the peace and joy you find.

Joshua Lee Martin

Glen Ellyn

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