PULLMAN, Wash. — A rededication ceremony signaling the completion of the Veterans Memorial at Washington State University is set for 11 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 7 on the grassy area west of Bryan Hall. The program will include the WSU All-Service ROTC color guard, the Washington Air National Guard Band from Fairchild Air Force Base, Spokane; a 21-gun salute by the Marine Reserve unit from Spokane and a fly-over.
Six new bronze plaques have been added to the memorial, along with a pedestrian walk. In recent weeks, a stone facing of camas basalt has been completed on the curved exterior walls of the plaza area.
“All conflicts that Washington State College and WSU alumni, faculty, staff and students were involved in during the 20th century are represented at that site,” says WSU Registrar Dave Guzman, chairman of the WSU Veterans Memorial Committee. The names of nearly 300 WSU war dead from World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf are inscribed on various bronze plaques.
The completion of the Veteran’s Memorial fulfills a promise made in 1944 by WSC President Ernest Holland to parents of students of WSC who were killed in battle during World War II.
The ground for the Veterans Memorial was dedicated in 1990. Phase I of the project was originally dedicated in November of 1993. In 1999, in conjunction with their 50th year reunion, the Class of 1949 began a campaign to complete the master design for the Veterans Memorial. Class members contributed nearly $58,000 to the project as a class gift to their alma mater. A total of nearly $110,000 has been raised from generous WSU contributors over the years for the Memorial.
Architect George Trakas of New York designed the Veterans Memorial. He also designed Terrell Mall on the Pullman campus.
C. James Quann, former WSU Registrar who earned three degrees from WSU, is credited with providing the impetus for the construction of the Veteran’s Memorial. He discovered President Holland’s letter in the library and brought it to the attention of then university provost Albert Yates. Later, Quann, now a Spokane resident, chaired the WSU Veterans Memorial Committee.
Maj. Gen. Milton Hunter, a 1967 WSU graduate in architectural engineering, will be the keynote speaker at the rededication. He is Deputy Chief of Engineers / Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Washington, D.C.
Other speakers will include WSU President V. Lane Rawlins, Brig. Gen. James McDevitt, chief of staff for the Washington National Guard at Camp Murray, Tacoma; John Lee, deputy director of the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs; George Nethercutt (’67 Engl.), U.S. Representative for Washington’s Fifth District, and Quann.
President Rawlins will place a wreath at the Veterans Memorial, along with Joe Matsen and James Warren, members of the Class of 1949, who spearheaded the effort to raise funds for the project.