Arlington Heights vets launch new kind of time capsule project that pays it forward

  • Greg Padovani, chairman of the Veterans Memorial Committee of Arlington Heights, explains the generational time capsule project the committee recently launched. Padovani, who is also a village trustee, brought one of the boxes to a village board meeting Monday night.

      Greg Padovani, chairman of the Veterans Memorial Committee of Arlington Heights, explains the generational time capsule project the committee recently launched. Padovani, who is also a village trustee, brought one of the boxes to a village board meeting Monday night. Christopher Placek | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted3/3/2020 5:30 AM

More than 50 Arlington Heights organizations have embarked on a pioneering multigenerational time capsule project to send messages to future generations, in hopes they'll pay it forward and continue the project into the future.

The Veterans Memorial Committee of Arlington Heights is leading the effort to collect digitized content that will be put on large master discs and placed inside three time capsule boxes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The three boxes are set to be buried this Memorial Day, May 25, at the foot of the Eternal Flame statue after the annual village ceremony at Memorial Park. The plan would be to unearth one of the boxes 33 years later, have those Arlington Heights residents put in material of their own, and rebury the box.

Then 33 years later, plans call for the second box to be dug up, contents emptied, refilled and reburied. And 34 years after that (a century from now), the same would happen with the third box, and continued into the future.

The idea came about after the village's centennial Memorial Day parade and ceremony last May when veterans committee members were thinking of a way to memorialize such an event.

Organizers believe the generational time capsule project is unique, not having been tried elsewhere.

"How about we do time capsules in a way nobody else has done?" said Greg Padovani, the veterans committee chairman and a village trustee.

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Padovani explained the project and displayed one of the metal boxes that will be used during a village board meeting Monday night.

The local organizations being asked to contribute digital artifacts to the effort include veterans groups, village government, park district, library, historical society, schools, businesses, civic groups and the faith community.

Padovani said he's asking the organizations not to provide physical artifacts, but digital messages instead -- documents, videos, photos, music or artwork, for instance -- that answer two questions: Who are you? What thoughts/wishes/desires would you like to express to future generations?

"Artifacts aren't as important or valuable to people in the future," Padovani said. "What is valuable is the messages to the future."

For instance, Padovani recorded short video vignettes of members of a local Vietnam Veterans of America chapter sharing their thoughts for future generations.

"When you capture a video of a person -- their voice, mannerisms and their message -- it makes such a profound impact on people of the future," Padovani said.

Local organizations have until April 15 to submit digital content. Everything will then be loaded onto an M-DISC, a large-form DVD that is constructed to last a very long time, Padovani said.

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