Thanksgiving 2013

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Scott Kahn

Thank You, Chicago

by Basel Al-Aswad

Forty years ago, in August, 1973, an ambitious young man, I arrived at Michael Reese Hospital in the heart of the city of Chicago to start my Orthopedic Residency. I knew but two friends from back home (Baghdad) and all my belongings would fit in the back seat of my small Toyota. It would have been difficult for me to imagine how this great city and its environs would embrace and support me, making it possible to succeed professionally, raise a beautiful family, and develop most treasured relationships in all aspects of my life.

In addition to sustaining me in material ways Chicago offered me an education in the arts, music, and architecture, and civics. I have celebrated my most joyous occasions under its wings yet this city with broad shoulders has consoled me in my darkest hours. Over the last four decades I feel we have both grown and matured, forging an everlasting bond; my hope is that we can also age gracefully together.

I have traveled to many interesting and exciting places but always find comfort and relief coming back to my beloved Chicago, a place I call home, where a large concentration of family and friends reside (along with my professional associates and patients). I honestly cannot fathom living anywhere else.

Two years ago, in December, 2011, I wrote a short post in EIL on the 40th anniversary of my arrival to this great country expressing my gratitude for its acceptance (hospitality) and generosity.

Today on this very American holiday, Thanksgiving Day, 2013, I extend the same to the city in the Heartland of the USA, CHICAGO.

Basel for EILBasel Al-Aswad, father of EIL founder Chris Al-Aswad, is a yogi trapped in an Orthopedic Surgeon’s body. His loves in life include reading, hiking, enjoying nature, meditation, and spending time with his large Iraqi family.

December 2011, 40 Years

Father to Son

The Month of July

Escape Into Life Celebration

Chris Al-Aswad, 2nd Memorial Celebration


Tree of Life, by Scott Kahn, above.
To see more of his art, please click the links below:

Scott Kahn in EIL Store

Scott Kahn in Escape Into Life


5 responses to “Thanksgiving 2013”

  1. Maureen says:

    Lovely post. Thank you for allowing all of us who cared about Chris to continue to show our gratitude here. It’s a privilege and honor to be associated with EIL. Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  2. Tiana says:

    It was like today that day when I was still in Baghdad and you told us that you have been offered an orthopedic residency position. We were so happy that you are settling with your career and moving forward. We were full of hopes for your future and were confident of your success. MOM & DAD were very proud that their son is specializing in Orthopedics in the U.S. He is the smart guy that everybody is aware of his intelligence and that he was the valedictorian of his class. The last few years have been tough on all of us loosing Chris at 31years of age, a repetition of loosing our 17 year old sister 46 years ago. No matter of all what happens our unconditional family love has supported us in good or bad to look forward and move on. Thanks to our parents who planted in us this love, passion, and compassion that brings the best of us always to stand for each other all the time. My family as well as our relatives that came to the U.S in the last 20 + years won’t forget your help, support and generosity to us when we immigrated and started our new life here. I love you and Mandy, both of you have a special part of my heart as long as I am alive. Next year will be the special year to celebrate Mandy’s Wedding. So Let the FUN Begin! It is the time to enjoy and start the journey of a new life. A new Chapter will begin!

    Your Sister that will stay always by your side

  3. holly says:

    Basel, that was beautiful and so HEARTfelt…your words were deep and touched me in my heart as well…you are a very sensitive warm and brilliant man. Being
    “trapped in an orthopedic surgeon’s body” is a very GOOD thing too.. Blessings, Love holly

  4. What a beautiful comment Auntie. We love you too and can’t wait to get this party started. Whooop! 🙂 xoxo
    – Mandy

  5. Kavita says:

    lovely expressions Basel..!! from this immigrant, a warm thanks for the love and thoughtfulness form You and your family. Chicago is Home and also where I met you. Chris started EIL and you and Mandy are continuing with a caring and grace to honor him and his work….may his passion continue to grow and touch the lives of more. Giving Thanks….Kavita

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