AMES, Iowa -- The walls of the Gold Star Hall -- the "memorial" in Iowa State University's Memorial Union -- are engraved with the names of former students who died while on active duty in the U.S. Armed Services. This year, four will be honored during the annual Veterans Day Gold Star Hall ceremony. The observance will be at 3:15 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 11, in the Memorial Union Great Hall. It is free and open to the public.
The four being honored are from each major conflict of the 20th century, their deaths spanning 48 years, from 1918 to 1966. John Hubert Woodward, who died in World War I, is a new name being added to the memorial this year. The other three were previously engraved on the wall, but not ceremoniously honored. (See sidebar.)
When the Memorial Union opened in 1928, the names of Iowa Staters who died in World War I were carved into the walls. In 1959, the names of World War II casualties were mounted on two bronze doors in the zodiac foyer. In 1984, the names from World War II, Korea and Vietnam were engraved into the limestone inside Gold Star Hall.
Name additions have also been made in 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 - adding overlooked servicemen from World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Somalia, as well as Iraq and Afghanistan. Gold Star Hall embodies the memoriam that the entire building represents.
During the ceremony, each soldier's life will be remembered through personal stories and photos. These were compiled by Kathy Svec, retired ISU Memorial Union marketing director, researching each person through local newspapers, genealogical and historical societies, yearbooks, phone directories and online resources to track down family members and piece together each soldier's life story.
In addition to the soldiers' stories, the ceremony will include an Army ROTC color guard and brief remarks by university and military representatives.