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Wreath-Laying To Honor Fallen Aggie Heroes Of WWI

Scot Walker '90 May 24, 2017 1:36 PM updated: March 5, 2018 9:08 AM

Via TAMU Today

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. at the World War I Memorial on the Corps of Cadets Plaza.

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 Memorial Day ceremony also will honor an additional five former students whose status as killed in action during World War I was only recently uncovered. For the first time, John W. Butts, Class of 1910, Hubert Rowland Florence, Class of 1911, Joseph Z. Sawyer, Class of 1916, Ira W. South, Class of 1917, and George W. Splawn, Class of 1917, 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.

These five Aggies join the 55 other former students who lost their lives in "the Great War" and have long been recognized for their valiant and selfless service.

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, which will be followed by a 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 4 million American families answered the call to serve in World War I, 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.

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