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Remembering Our Veterans

KU's Vietnam War memorial honors students and alumni killed or declared missing in Vietnam. (Photo by J. Schafer)

Q: In 1986, the University of Kansas became the first university in the country to dedicate a Vietnam War Memorial on campus.  KU's memorial is a wall made of Kansas limestone that commemorates students and alumni who died or were declared missing.  Additional names have been added to the wall since it was first dedicated in 1986.  How many names now appear on this wall?


A: 59

Eleven years after the Vietnam War ended, the University of Kansas dedicated the nation's first on-campus Vietnam War memorial.  On May 25, 1986, dedication ceremonies were held, making it the first such on-campus commemoration in the country.  KU's memorial honors 59 students and alumni who died or were declared missing in the war.  The 65-foot, L-shaped wall of native Kansas limestone, at the west end of Memorial Drive, was created by Doran Abel, an architecture major; Stephan Grabow, professor of architecture and urban design; and Greg Wade, the university’s landscape architect.  Donations from students, alumni and veterans helped pay for construction of the memorial.

KU also has a Korean War Memorial, near the Vietnam War Memorial, commemorating the 44 members of the KU community who were killed in that conflict.  It was dedicated in 2005.

Reminder: A Veterans Day parade is taking place in downtown Lawrence on Saturday at 1pm.  It's believed to be the first Veterans Day parade in Lawrence in nearly 50 years.

Fun factoid: November 11th used to be known as Armistice Day in the United States.  It commemorated the end of World War I, which ended at the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.  Thanks to Kansas Congressman Ed Reese, of Emporia, and the citizens of that community, Armistice Day became Veterans Day in 1954.  U.S. Representative Ed Rees presented a bill establishing the Veterans Day holiday through Congress (to honor all veterans, not just those who served in World War I) and fellow Kansan, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, signed the bill into law.  The federal holiday has been known as Veterans Day ever since.


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