Military figure could represent Illini

Military figure could represent Illini

I am one of the hundreds of thousands of Illinois alumni who appreciated the Chief over the decades.

Efforts to revive the Chief for the last decade have proven fruitless, so the Chief is gone — dead.

There have been talks about having a mascot, but the very word "mascot" connotes a cartoon-like character such as the personification of a badger or a horse-chestnut. No one seems to want that. What to do?

Let's start with what we have: words. We have Fighting Illini. No one seems to object to the word "Fighting," including the NCAA. We have songs with words: "We are marching for dear old Illini, the men who are fighting for you."

Now who marches and fights? The members of the armed services, that's who.

We have Memorial Stadium and who does it memorialize? The Fighting Illini who gave their lives during World War I.

So let's have an American soldier "representing" the Fighting Illini. He would not be a "mascot" nor an "icon" but a "representative" of a notable group of people, as was the Chief.

Then there is the music, which is important. Perhaps some creative musician can compose a replacement for the war chant with music that is not only pleasing to the ears, but stirs one's emotions, has a military bent and stays with you over the years.

I know that there is a lot of room for development of these suggestions, but I rest my case.

ROBERT DRAYTON

Urbana

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