Plans develop for new veterans memorial
The proposed memorial would contain a kiosk and an engraved wall.
Mar. 16, 2012
Memorial Union has honored MU students who died in World War I for 86 years. Faculty and students are now in the process of designing a new memorial to honor students who have served in conflicts since World War I.
Plans for the new memorial include a kiosk that would serve as a database for all MU students who have served in wars and a granite or stone wall with engravings of veterans’ names who died in battle, said Marty Walker, director of administrative services in the engineering department.
Walker and Faculty Council Student Affairs Committee chairman Craig Roberts are working with architectural studies students to design this new memorial, which will most likely be located in the north tower of Memorial Union.
“Memorial Union was built to honor World War I veterans and there are now a variety of plaques throughout Memorial that honor other veterans,” Walker said. “Our goal is to bring all of these plaques together.”
Walker said he got the idea for a kiosk as part of the memorial after touring several museums and memorial sites in Washington D.C. and Kansas City.
“The kiosks allow you to see a picture of the veteran, what he or she did and allows you to do research,” Walker said. “It is the honoring of a veteran, but it is also educational.”
The granite or stone wall to accompany the kiosk is also a crucial part of the memorial, because it will give visitors something tangible to run their fingers across, Roberts said.
“All you have to do is walk through the breezeway of (Memorial Union) to see that it looks like a monument,” Roberts said. “A kiosk or plaque doesn’t as a stand-alone item. Our goal is to say in a strong way that we’re grateful for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.”
An official proposal will likely be made to the chancellor next semester, Walker said.
“We will take as much time as we need to do this right,” Walker said. “We have men and women who have given their full measure and we will take adequate time to honor them.”
The Veterans Center fully supports the idea of both the kiosk and memorial wall, Veterans Center director Carol Fleisher said.
“We hope both ideas are adopted,” Fleisher said. “Veterans really value something permanent, such as a stone memorial. The reason to like the kiosk is that is can also be used as something educational.”
In addition to being able to look up a veteran, the kiosk would allow visitors to research the wars in which that veteran was involved. Visitors could also hear personal stories and experiences of veterans who have participated in the Missouri Veterans History Project, an oral history program.
As a retired Marine, Walker said this project resounded with him on a personal level.
“I have seen a lot of the sacrifices men and women make in war,” Walker said. “MU is a very prestigious institution and we should honor these veterans in a fitting way.”