Gettysburg College Community Dedicates Vietnam War Memorial

A crowd gathers for the dedication of the Vietnam Memorial outside of the College Union Building. (Photo Mary Frasier/The Gettysburgian)

A crowd gathers for the dedication of the Vietnam Memorial outside of the College Union Building. (Photo Mary Frasier/The Gettysburgian)

By Cameron D’Amica, Contributing Writer

Gettysburg College students, alumni, faculty, and their families gathered in Mara Auditorium on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 10 a.m. to dedicate the new Vietnam memorial to the fourteen Gettysburg alumni who gave their lives in the Vietnam War. The memorial is located on the CUB patio in the form of a granite slab that reads, “In honor of the Gettysburg College Alumni who died while serving in the Armed Forces of the United States of America during 1965-1973 period of the Vietnam War.”

The ceremony began with the playing of Last Post. Thomas W. McCracken (‘66) (Lieutenant, USN) welcomed all to the ceremony and introduced the Gettysburg ROTC Color Guard that presented the colors led by Tyrus A. Legenski (‘20). The entire crowd sang the National Anthem in unison and then recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

President Janet Morgan Riggs ‘77 gave the dedicatory remarks during the ceremony, sincerely thanking the families and loved ones of the fourteen men who gave their lives in the Vietnam War for being a part of the dedication.

“We gather to honor fourteen Gettysburgians who made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Riggs.

Riggs reminded the audience of the bravery of these men and hopes that it will help to heal and comfort the community, while serving as an important reminder to current Gettysburg students. She voiced hope that the placement of the memorial, intentionally on the busy CUB patio, will make students more aware of those fourteen men who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Riggs concluded with a poem by Charles M. Province titled “It is the Soldier.” The final words of the poem left the room in silence:

“It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,

Who serves beneath the flag,

And whose coffin is draped by the flag,

Who allows the protester to burn the flag.”

Susan Colestock Hill (‘67) gave the final remarks, in which she explain her wishes that the memorial leaves a lasting mark of the “service and sacrifice” of these fourteen men who gave their lives. She explained the process of inserting the granite memorial into the wall of the CUB in May 2018 and how the process symbolized the heavy weight and grief of the war being carefully guided by family, friends, and the community. After Susan Colestock Hill’s speech, the ROTC Color Guards participated in the retirement of the colors, and the entire assembly adjourned to the site of the memorial. Lieutenant Colonel Stephen A. Tracy (‘66) read the memorial roll call of the fourteen Gettysburg alumni who gave their lives in the Vietnam War.

Captain Ronald F. Thomson ‘60 USMC

Corporal Edgar B. Burchell III ‘62 USMC

Captain Joseph P. Murphy ‘63 USMC

Lieutenant Junior Grade John M. Colestock ‘65 USN

Ensign James M. Ewing ‘65 USN

Ensign Andrew L. Muns ‘65 USN

First Lieutenant George A. Callan ‘66 USA

Captain Robert L. Morris ‘66 USAF

First Lieutenant Charles H. Richardson ‘66 USAF

First Lieutenant J. Andrew Marsh ‘67 USAF

Specialist 4 Stephen H. Warner ‘68 USA

Captain Daniel W. Whipps ‘69 USAF

First Lieutenant Stephen H. Doane ‘70 USA, Medal of Honor

Captain Millard R. Valerius USA, ROTC Instructor ‘62-‘64

A wreath was placed at the memorial site by President Riggs, Susan Colestock Hill, and Colonel Edward G. Southworth. The audience was silent and respectful as Echoing Taps was played after the extremely moving dedication ceremony.

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Author: Gettysburgian Staff

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