A Monument of Reflection: KSU dedicates WWII Memorial
June 2, 2011
Sacrifice. Memory. Honor.
More than 60 years have passed since the end of World War II, but these were the words on the forefront of every heart and mind of 1st Infantry Division Veterans, Active Duty Soldiers, Officers, their Family members and others in attendance at the Tags of Honor Memorial Dedication at Kansas State University May 30.
Two stainless steel dog tags now sit on sacred ground outside McCain Auditorium and Fairchild Hall on the K-State campus, blank and reflective in quality to mirror any individual who stops to honor those who so long ago fought for their nation by land, air and sea.
“The gleaming set of dog tags you see here before you today represents those who … when asked to defend their country, when the future hung in balance, stood in the face of oppression in order to provide the freedoms we enjoy today,” said 1st Inf. Div. Command Sgt. Maj. Jim Champagne.
“It is not by mistake that the dog tags are reflective in nature. When a young man or woman walks by them, they see the future: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to vote, personal courage, selfless-service and most important, quiet streets,” Champagne said.
Forever reflecting the United States flag waving nearby, many felt the reflective surface of the memorial truly captures everything this nation represents and the treasures it holds.
“I feel better every time I see it,” said 2nd Lt. (ret.) Burke Bayer, WWII veteran and sculpture committee member.
“School kids will walk through here every day … they’ll see that and they’ll ask questions. This will carry on for generations because of the uniqueness of the design,” Burke said, adding that he feels the tags can and do represent every Soldier who has fought and who are currently fighting for this great nation.
“(This) represents that generation called ‘The Greatest Generation’ because it was a generation of sacrifice,” said Sam Brownback, governor of Kansas. “On their sacrifices have we built this nation.”