Redbird Athletics unveils Redbird Remembrance
The Illinois State Athletics Department revealed Redbird Remembrance in a private ceremony Friday, September 11.
Redbird Remembrance is a memorial near the north entrance of Redbird Arena to remember the seven men who lost their lives in the April 7, 2015, plane crash outside of Bloomington-Normal. The memorial is now open to the public.
At the center of the memorial are seven columns placed in a fountain, symbolizing the loss and a commitment to remember seven friends and co-workers taken too soon. A plaque welcomes visitors into the memorial, while the seven names are etched into the back wall. With built-in seating and lights, and located in the heart of Redbird Athletics, guests will be able to visit the memorial at any time of day.
“We felt that we had a duty to honor these men, support their families and strengthen the Redbird bond,” Director of Athletics Larry Lyons said. “The permanency of the memorial is to honor their legacy with dignity and respect, and we believe the design is comforting and peaceful. We picked this location so that it is accessible to the families, the campus and the community to reflect and remember.”
In addition to the memorial, Redbird student-athletes and coaches will wear a patch on game days during the 2015-16 season in memory of the seven men. Athletics staff members will wear lapel pins that resemble the patch.
“Our student-athletes understand the significance of the patch and what it symbolizes,” Lyons added. “We asked them to honor the seven with their competitive spirit throughout the year.”
A replica of the Battle Bird will also be placed at the entrance in the Hancock Stadium Club and Legends Room/Redbird Room donor areas in Redbird Arena on home football and men’s basketball game days. At the base of the Battle Bird is a plaque with the seven names, as another way to memorialize the friends and community members who were lost that day. Weisbecker Scholarship Fund donors will be able to touch the Battle Bird upon entrance to the Hancock Stadium Club and Legends Room/Redbird Room, just like Redbird student-athletes do before any home competition.