A crowd gathered Friday, Sep. 25, between Academic and Memorial Hall to dedicate the newly finished Veterans Plaza and witness the first flag-raising ceremony in honor of the military service of Southeast veterans.
“It is very emotional for many people because many of them were veterans themselves,” University President Carlos Vargas said. “So it becomes emotional, and I think that’s one of the strongest characteristics of today’s event.”
The release stated more than $100,000 has been privately raised to support the Veterans Plaza project through the university's impact page.
Southeast officials stated in a press release that at the plaza, memorial engraved bricks were presented in respect for faculty and families along with a central stone and plaque honoring the past, present and future military members.
The monument includes 217 bricks individually dedicated in honor of the military service of individual alumni and families.
“The project actually started 50 years ago with Many of us coming back from the Vietnam War had formed our vet for alumni and we had always talked about having something that would have an impact on the university, now this is a place for remembering our veteran’s sacrifices, and for veterans to reflect on their time served and also a reminder to all students and alumni that this is a veteran-friendly campus, one to be proud of,” Thomas Meyer, United States Navy Seabee Veteran, said.
Vargas said the plaza will be a very distinct feature in the years to come with the bricks being added each fall to continue Southeast's new tradition.
“The foundation is what helped put all of this together with helping raise money, selling bricks, and getting gifts and donations from alumni and friends of the university and this was just another one of our assignments that we were happy to work with,” Kiera Hilliard, supervisor of University Foundation, said.
To purchase a brick or donate to the Veterans Plaza project, you may visit the website or contact the University’s Alumni Association office at (573) 651-2259.
The Southeast Arrow is a contributing partner with KRCU Public Radio.