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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Nov. 7, 2008

Gold Star Hall

An employee of Nevada Monument blackens a newly sandblasted name in the Gold Star Hall limestone prior to removing the protective stencil. The names of 20 fallen soldiers, spanning nearly 50 years, were added to the walls earlier this week. Photo by Bob Elbert.

Twenty former students to be honored in Gold Star Hall ceremony

by Teddi Barron, News Service

There's a reason it's called the Memorial Union. And an effort under way at Iowa State will ensure that all who should be memorialized are.

When university officials become aware of additional names of former students who died while on active combat duty in the U.S. Armed Services, they take steps to add the students' names to the Gold Star Hall, which is the "memorial" in the Memorial Union.

This year, 20 names will be engraved into the walls of the union's north entrance. The fallen soldiers will be honored during a Veterans Day observance on Tuesday, Nov. 11. The ceremony will begin at 2:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union Great Hall. It is free and open to the public.

This is the third consecutive year that new names have been added to the hall and ceremonies observed, said Kathy Svec, MU marketing director. Names also were added in 2003, 1984, 1969 and 1928.

Svec is managing the effort to honor the former students, whose combat deaths span nearly 50 years -- from 1945 to 1993. Sixteen died in Vietnam, two in Korea, one in Somalia and one during World War II.

During the past year, Svec located honorees' families, friends and service buddies to gather personal stories and photos. She compiled them into remembrances that will be shared during the ceremony.

"We want to make them come alive for an hour," Svec said.

The program also will include brief comments from president Gregory Geoffroy, MU director Richard Reynolds and Lt. Col. Jay Soupene, professor and chair of military science. The engraved names will be read in the Great Hall, prior to a private viewing for families in the Gold Star Hall. A reception with displays of honoree memorabilia will follow.

"The families have been an incredible resource; they opened our eyes to the form that the ceremony could take. They just spontaneously brought their photo albums and medals to share," Svec said.

"It's very moving," she said. "You realize how important it is to engage the families in preparing for the ceremony."