On May 23, about 100 people gathered to honor Aggies who lost their lives at war during a Memorial Day event.
The names of the Gold Star Aggies — 135 fallen soldiers from World War I through the Iraq War — were read aloud as part of the ceremony outside the Memorial Union (MU), the building that was originally dedicated to student service members in 1955.
“The department of Campus Recreation and Unions, under leadership of Executive Director John Campbell, has been preparing for the renewal project of the building. Through research into the history of the facility, they felt that bringing the meaning of the Memorial Union back to the attention of the campus was very important,” said Amy Shuman, HR analyst and executive assistant at Campus Recreation and Unions.
Victor Garcia, a veteran of the Iraq War and a transfer/reentry advisor in the Veteran Affairs office, said that the MU is a major part of the campus community, but unfortunately most people do not know the meaning behind it.
“For a lot of students and the community, the MU is such a part of our daily lives, but a lot of them do not understand why it’s important,” Garcia said.
Garcia also added that the Golden Memory Book, a book that lists 134 Aggie casualties (the most recent death has yet to be added), is located in Griffin Lounge next to the fireplace, but most students do not realize it is there.
The plan is to make this ceremony into an annual event to honor the Aggie soldiers who passed away and to create greater knowledge of the history of the building.
“This year, we set the foundation for a ceremony that will become an annual event. It’s not necessarily the details of the ceremony that are most important to expand, but rather that through this event, we can increase awareness of the history and meaning of the Memorial Union,” Shuman said.
A new entrance to the MU is set to be constructed near the current north entrance. In addition, a kiosk will be built inside where the names and stories of the Gold Star Aggies can be viewed and permanently honored.
“The department of Campus Recreation and Unions seeks to make the Memorial Union feature a prominent part of the renewal so that all who visit it will know a piece of the history and will have the opportunity to learn more,” Shuman said.
ASUCD President Carly Sandstrom said these new additions to the MU would be an excellent way to honor Aggies who served the country.
“We are recognizing and re-dedicating this Union to those Aggies who were courageous and selfless enough to risk their lives to fight for our country. We are honoring our student heroes for their bravery and sacrifice to protect us,” Sandstrom said.
SASHA COTTERELL can be reached at email@example.com.