Relics Of Past War Memorial Become Part Of New Display At USU
Nov 12, 2018, 8:09 PM | Updated: Nov 13, 2018, 12:41 am
LOGAN, Utah – A small crowd gathered outside the Military Science and Tactics building at Utah State University for the dedication of a new war memorial. While the memorial’s centerpiece, a World War I doughboy statue, was new, the plaques just below were not.
The plaques were made in honor of veterans who died in World War I, World War II, and aboard the USS Maine in 1895.
Retired USU campus architect Stanley Kane said they were once part of a memorial at the Old Main building on campus. That was, until a fire burned part of the building in 1983.
During the renovation, Kane said were tossed aside, and headed for the landfill. Instead, Kane kept them in a storage unit.
“I think it’s important to remember our heritage, and the men who fought for freedom in the world mean a lot to me,” Kane said. “I came from the British Isles, where had it not been for American doughboys and their successors during World War II, I would have been saluting Adolf Hitler at my elementary school.”
Kane held onto the bronze plaques for more than 20 years, starting in 1994, knowing that eventually someone would be able to help put them back on public display. When Craig Jessop, dean of the Caine College of the Arts came to the university in 2008, he showed them to him.
“He said, ‘I know you’re a veteran, and I’ve got something I think you might want to see,'” Jessop recalled. “He took me to this storage shed, and there were these incredible bronzes. I just… it touched me deeply because of my time in the military, and so many people that I knew who had given so much, and some had lost their lives.”
Eventually, a fundraising effort began to create a new monument. Jessop said donations poured in, and in 2018, the family of renowned sculptor Avard Fairbanks came forward to donate the bronze sculpture of the doughboy that now sits on top of the monument.
“I am very humbled, and extremely pleased that this has come about,” Jessop said. “The fact that it’s here in front of the military science building, and every cadet that walks through these doors now will pass through this memorial, and will be reminded of the human life, every story that was told, contributed to the freedom of our country that we enjoy today.”
Kane was also touched to finally see the plaques on public display again Monday after so long.
“I can’t keep the tears from my eyes,” Kane said. “The emotion is very high.”