A wreath laying ceremony honoring Aggies who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War I will be conducted by the Brazos County World War I Centennial Committee on May 29, Memorial Day, at 10 a.m. The ceremony will take place at the World War I Memorial located on the Corps of Cadets Plaza on the campus of Texas A&M University.
While Texas A&M has long recognized the valiant and selfless service of 55 former students who lost their lives in the Great War, the upcoming Memorial Day ceremony also will honor an additional five former students whose identities were only recently uncovered. For the first time, John W. Butts ’10, Hubert Rowland Florence ’11, Joseph Z. Sawyer ’16, Ira W. South ’17 and George W. Splawn ’17, will receive the recognition and respect that they earned more than a century ago when they died in battle to secure freedom for all Americans.
The brief ceremony will begin with a welcome from John Blair ’83, committee chairman and an archivist with the National Archives. Vietnam veteran Tom Powell will give the invocation followed by the roll call of the 60 Gold Star Aggie names. The ceremony will end with a benediction also delivered by Powell. Attendees are invited to participate in the annual Memorial Day observance held at the VFW Post immediately following.
Research prompted by the World War I Centennial led committee members from the National Archives, Cushing Memorial Library and Sterling Evans Library to the discovery of the five additional Aggie war heroes.
Men and women from more than four million American families answered the call to serve in WWI, and the number of Texas A&M students, staff and faculty among them surpassed any other American university, according to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. The Great War claimed the lives of 116,516 U.S. soldiers and wounded another 200,000, and the university helped to rehabilitate approximately 1,000 injured veterans between 1919 and 1925 under the supervision of the Federal Board of Vocational Education and with the assistance of the Veterans Bureau.
Media contact: Greg Bailey, Archivist, Cushing Memorial Library & Archives, 979-845-1951 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Elena Watts, Division of Marketing and Communications, 979-458-8412 or email@example.com.
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