Vietnam veteran helped build Chicago's Sears Tower

Built into the fabric of Chicago is the story of Vietnam veteran Mike Morgan. 

After the war, Morgan, along with his father and uncles, helped build the Sears Tower, now known as the Willis Tower.

"It's a beautiful building. It's a nice building. It's not sagging," Morgan jokes. 

Starting on the sixth floor, Morgan worked as a certified welder until the last beam was placed on the 108th floor.  

At the time, the tower was the tallest building in the world.  

"When I worked there on the beams and stuff, I had a safety man, and I had what we call a parachute so in case anything collapses…I'd be hanging like a canary," Morgan said, demonstrating with his arms how he’d look.  

Part of the bravery may have come from being drafted into Vietnam.  

"It was part of life. They picked you, you would go," he said.  

Morgan says his high score on an Army entrance exam made him eligible to work in an office in Vietnam, managing records.  


"I handled officers that were Major and above. They weren't like the screwy lewy’s like we used to call ‘em," he laughed.  

He is proud to be a veteran and extremely satisfied with his life at Terra Vista Memory Care Center in Oakbrook Terrace.  

"We don't just look at residents with their diagnosis. We look at them as a whole person and their past contributions and everything that really defines them," said Natalie McFarland, the Executive Director of Terra Vista.  

This Veterans Day we are honoring Mike Morgan, a Chicago icon, with a life story as grand as the Sears Tower. 

Fox 32 Chicago has teamed up with U.S. Vets this November to end veteran homelessness and give every veteran the opportunity to live with dignity and independence.  

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