Illini Legends, Lists & Lore: Memorial Stadium’s columns
Two-hundred stately 22-foot, Doric-style columns grace each side of Illinois’ Memorial Stadium, memorializing the 188 men and one woman who lost their lives in World War I. In 2002, the UI broadened the stadium’s original allegiance to honor those who gave their lives in our nation’s wars. The memorial honors 948 alumni, students, faculty and staff who gave their lives in the nation’s wars and conflicts since 1918. Their names are engraved on impressive limestone tablets at the passages to Memorial Stadium’s east and west colonnades, alongside the names of their fallen World War I associates. On Oct. 17, 1924, as part of the dedication exercises for Memorial Stadium, 1916 UI graduate Lewis Sarrett read his work, titled “Ode to Illinois.” The closing stanza of Sarrett’s stirring poem:
Know that the broken hosts
Of martial-moving ghosts,
Who gave to a warring world their last full breath,
And won to immortality in death,
Hovering in stadium shaft and tower height,
In memorial court and buttressed peak,
Shall watch for you, and speak
To you of Great Moments in a Greater Fight.
O Men of Illinois, in war and peace and play,
So may we live that when the crucial fight is won,
And the long race run,
These spirits of an elder day
Shall bend to each of us and say:
Well done! Well done!
Yours is the will to win. Well done, my prairie son.
Sunday: Ivory Crawford, basketball (21)
Monday: Lydia Gard, volleyball (34)
Tuesday: Nathan Hodel, football (36)
Wednesday: Aaron Shelby, football (43)
Thursday: Chip Castelo, golf (60)
Friday: Mark Tagart, football (51)
Saturday: Tim Lavery, football & baseball (35)
By Mike Pearson, author of Illini Legends, Lists & Lore.
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