Veterans memorial proposed under Memorial Union archway

A physical memorial under the Memorial Union archway would remind students to speak in hushed tones and tip their hats in honor of veterans.

The Alumni Association Student Board and the Missouri Students Association Secretary of Auxiliaries, Lauren Damico, have begun a joint initiative to install a physical memorial to be placed beneath the Memorial Union archway.

“Memorial Union was built to honor those students who died in service to our country in World War I,” AASB Traditions Committee member Paige Tenkhoff said in an email. “The north and south wings were later dedicated to students who had lost their lives in WWII and later conflicts. Building Memorial Union was seen as a promise to those students, to always keep them in our memories and honor their sacrifice."

The physical memorial would serve as a reminder to students to speak in hushed tones and to tip their hats while under the arch. It would also serve as a stand for the wreath that is laid each year on Veterans Day.

“The intention behind the silence under the arch and the tipping of hats is not being observed anymore,” Damico said. “It was a promise that the university gave at its installation in honor of our veterans, and it is a tradition I feel needs to be revived.”

This initiative has MSA support through Bill 52-20, which states that MSA will “catalyze action among the student body to remedy this issue.”

AASB Traditions Committee member Bobby Hofman said the goal is to have a student-run and funded movement. He said the leaders in this project have been in contact with university officials but they plan to officially approach the university with a list of student signatures backing the project.

He said the committee plans to collect these signatures by sending an official proposal to the many of the major student organizations on campus.

“It’s the students now who are forgetting about it,” Hofman said. “If they take ownership, then it won’t just be a week-long advertising scheme. People will adopt it. We want people to take ownership of the fact that this is all of our tradition. It’s not just for the people who built the tower in 1923.”

He said because this is a coveted tradition, he is not worried about gaining student support and funding.

Damico also said she does not believe funding for the memorial will be a concern. She said she expects support from the various student organizations on campus.

The actual design and cost of the memorial have not been decided upon yet, but Tenkhoff said the goal is to finish installation of the memorial by the end of the year.

“I think this is one of the best traditions we have,” Hofman said. “This is something that has been around for so long and it is so much bigger than any single one of us. For people to recognize that by being reverent to the soldiers who were part of Mizzou and reverent to the people that have gone before and have given us the freedom to go to Mizzou, I think, is a good reminder.”

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