September 29 Illinois History Minute
It’s September 29th, and retired Air Force General Darren McDew was born in Rantoul on this day in 1960. McDew graduated from Virginia Military Institute in 1982 as the nation’s first African-American regimental commander. He went on to serve as Commander of U.S. Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base in southwest Illinois.
On this day in 2003, the Chicago Bears played their first game in the newly renovated Soldier Field, losing to Green Bay. The Bears were on a losing streak, and an ESPN sportscaster ribbed them with a reference to the stadium’s expensive makeover: “It’s amazing what 606 million dollars can buy you, and that was just to renovate Soldier Field.” The renovations were widely criticized, and cost Soldier Field its designation as a National Historic Landmark.