The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Army ROTC Alumni Council is leading efforts to establish the UT Armed Forces Memorial on the university’s flagship campus in Knoxville. The memorial will honor the sacrifice of students, faculty and staff from all campuses in the UT System who died in the line of duty while serving in the United States from World War I to the present day, as their deaths or occurred during direct combat military operations. , training or as a result of national or international acts of terror.
A wreath laying ceremony to mark the launch of this project will be held on Veterans Day.
“This memorial serves as a physical reminder and a place for people in our community to express our grief and gratitude,” said Chancellor Donde Plowman. “Members of the armed forces are the ultimate example of what it means to step forward with courage.”
The design of the memorial is highlighted by a 13-ton monolithic sculpture carved from native Tennessee marble. A wall encrusted with bronze medallions bearing the seal of each branch of the United States Armed Forces will serve as the backdrop for the sculpture. Visitors will see the names of each of UT’s deceased heroes on the slanted surface of the sculpture.
Retired Lt. Col. Logan Hickman (’80) was a project manager for the council’s armed forces memorial committee. “The idea for this really started in 2016 when retired General John Tindall (’67) challenged us to honor UT alumni who died in Vietnam,” Hickman said. “That same fall, I visited the Texas A&M campus, and after seeing what they had done, I knew UT could do better. It is long overdue.
The Armed Forces Memorial will be located on the Joe Johnson – John Ward pedestrian bridge in front of Brown Hall. “It’s one of the busiest areas on campus,” said Bethany Morris of UT Facilities Services, who is the project manager. “We thought it was important that the memorial be placed in a high visibility area of the campus. Thousands of people will go through this every day and remember the sacrifices so many of us made to protect and preserve our freedoms. “
Based on extensive research
The Center for the Study of War and Society at UT’s College of Arts and Sciences has done extensive research to gather information on who should be honored. CSWS Program Coordinator Cynthia Tinker led the research effort.
“So far we’ve checked 369 names and are finding more,” Tinker said. “We combed through yearbooks, old alumni magazines, and past research conducted by the UT Alumni Office and former UT historian Milton Klein. It is a laborious process, but we cannot let the memories of these people slip away. “
In addition to the physical memorial, the committee hopes to create a website with photos and biographies of those commemorated.
“There are so many great stories to tell,” said committee member Ben Scott (’83), who has researched the biographies of UT veterans. “Each name on the memorial represents a history and a family that have been changed forever.”
Fundraising Campaign Announcement
The committee partnered with the UT Foundation in a $ 130,000 campaign to fund the memorial.
“This is an exciting project for our Army ROTC alumni,” said Brian Hardy, director of campus-wide advancement. “They were the driving force behind the fundraising effort to make it a reality. We are in a silent phase of the campaign for this project and are delighted to announce it to the public.
Over $ 100,000 has already been committed to reach the goal of $ 130,000.
“We are very grateful to the donors who have already come forward,” said Hardy. “The response has been really great. “
UT administrator Alan Wilson (’80), former chairman of the UT Alumni board, said he was proud to join with other veterans to establish a memorial in the honor of those Vols who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the performance of their duties.
“UT has a long and distinguished tradition of service to our country, and this memorial recognizes that heritage,” said Wilson, who attended UT on an ROTC scholarship and served as a captain in the United States Army after the graduation. He retired as President and CEO of McCormick & Company Inc. in 2016.
Geoff Freeman (’78), president of the UT Knoxville ROTC Alumni Council, said: “In the past, as a country, we have commemorated our veteran heroes in many ways. It is only fitting that we now take the time to recognize these veterans of Flight for making the ultimate sacrifice for our country. I am proud to be a part of this important endeavor and strongly encourage others to join us in making this memorial a reality.
The council plans to dedicate the new memorial in the spring of 2022. To learn more about the project, submit a name to include or support the UT Armed Forces Memorial, visit give.utk.edu/armedforcesmemorial.
Brooks Clark (865-310-1277, [email protected])