AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State University community will honor three veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice during the annual Gold Star Hall Ceremony on Nov. 6.
The Gold Star Hall ceremony recognizes former ISU students who lost their lives serving their country in wartime. This year’s ceremony will take place on Monday, Nov. 6, at 4:15 p.m. in the Durham Great Hall of the Memorial Union and will honor a Marine Corps veteran who served in World War II and Korea, a WWII Army veteran and an Army veteran who served in Vietnam.
Rita Case, director of the ISU Military-Affiliated Student Center who served in the Navy on active duty and in the Navy Reserves, said the ceremony keeps alive the memory of the honorees and provides a show of support to veterans who study and work on campus.
“For many of our student veterans, the Gold Star Hall is a place that connects their military identity to their student identity, as they reflect on their military siblings lost to war who also walked the campus at Iowa State,” Case said.
Case will direct this year’s ceremony and narratives detailing the lives of the three honorees will be read. Speakers at the ceremony include ISU President Wendy Wintersteen, ISU Student Veteran Madison Lihs, and Chair and Professor of Air Force Aerospace Studies Lt. Col. Eric Lopez. An ISU student string quartet and ISU Music Professor Chad Sonka will perform. Sgt. Robert Krause, a bugler from the Iowa National Guard’s 34th Army Band, will perform “Taps.”
Anyone who attended Iowa State full-time for one or more academic terms and died while in military service is eligible to have their name engraved on the wall of Gold Star Hall in the Memorial Union. Each year, a committee selects several former students whose names are on the walls of Gold Star Hall to be honored during the ceremony. Kirra Ortiz, an ISU senior studying history who worked with the committee, researched each selected veteran and contacted surviving family members to construct a narrative of each veteran’s life.
“Gold Star Hall continues to be a living memorial for Iowa State University students who made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Lana Seiler, an administrative assistant for the Memorial Union and a member of the Gold Star Hall committee. “The ceremony aims to show the world who these heroes were, including their lives before wartime, what they studied while at Iowa State, what activities they took part in on campus, and what their military service was like.”
Gold Star Hall Honorees
The three honorees this year include:
- Army Captain Thomas Henry Delamore, an Ames High graduate who served in World War II and died aboard a Japanese prisoner-of-war ship.
- Marine Captain Alfred Hiram Agan, born in Chariton, who received his bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering and served in World War II and Korea.
- Army 1st Lieutenant James Lee Miller, born in Maquoketa, who died from shrapnel wounds in Vietnam while penetrating the perimeter of an enemy base camp.
Delamore and Agan were engraved on the wall previously, while Miller’s name was added in August of this year.
A family member or representatives of each honoree will receive a coin from the Memorial Union thanking them for their loved one’s service. Immediately following the ceremony there will be a reception with food and drinks, during which tables for each honoree will display stories and artifacts representing their lives. At 6 p.m. in the Durham Great Hall, the ISU Lectures Program, along with the Military-Affiliated Student Center, will host the 2023 Gold Star Hall Ceremony Lecture, titled “Legacies of the All-Volunteer Force, Fifty Years On.” Amy Rutenberg, an associate professor of history, will deliver the lecture, which will focus on the 50th anniversary of the end of the American draft and the legacies of the all-volunteer force.
The Memorial Union at Iowa State University campus was completed in 1928 to honor students who died serving in World War I. Today, Gold Star Hall includes the names of the nearly 600 ISU students who died serving in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, USS Liberty, Iraq and Afghanistan. The annual ceremony that spotlights the stories of individual veterans began in 2003. The names and stories of each veteran listed on the wall are available in an online database on the Memorial Union’s Gold Star Hall website.