UW-Stout wall to honor fallen veterans with ties to school
Leader-Telegram, Eau Claire, Wis.
MENOMONIE — Cornet player Ole Anshus was traveling through the Midwest when he contracted influenza and died on Oct. 5, 1918.
Anshus is one of 40 men with ties to UW-Stout who died while serving the U.S. armed forces who are remembered as part of a memorial wall that will be dedicated Friday at the university Memorial Student Center.
The goal of the memorial committee was to include as many individuals as possible who graduated from, attended or worked at the university and whether they died in action, from disease or illness or in a military accident.
“The memorial’s time is long overdue,” University Centers director Darrin Witucki said in a news release. “It makes the Memorial Student Center more complete.”
Anshus was a member of the Ludington Guard Band, consisting of a group of Menomonie area musicians, and also played in the UW-Stout band. He was traveling with John Philip Sousa’s Jackie Band to raise money for the military when he died. He is buried at Halverson Cemetery in Menomonie.
Hosting the memorial ceremony at the Memorial Student Center is appropriate, given that the building was dedicated in 1959 to university students and employees who died in the military. A marble plaque was installed in the original student center, now the Communications Technologies Building, but a list of the fallen never was completed because of missing and incomplete records.
The plaque was later moved to the current student center, which was opened in 1985, and is outside the south doors near the new memorial wall being dedicated.
The effort to identify those who died in service began over a year ago, spurred by a scholarship created in memory of Lt. John Abrams, a 1962 alumnus who died in 1968 in Vietnam. Former classmates who started the Abrams scholarship fund inquired about honoring him with a plaque, leading to a renewed effort to honor all the university’s fallen military members, according to a UW-Stout news release.
Many of the 40 people commemorated with plaques had been identified by recently retired archivist Kevin Thorie. Additional research was conducted by university archives staff under the direction of archivists Heather Stecklein and Robin Melland. Assistant Wendy Guerra and intern Melissa Schultz, a graduate student in the UW-Eau Claire public history program, spent many weeks researching and verifying individual information.
“We do have a diversity of service,” Stecklein said of the wall, noting the people the wall commemorates died in such varied locations as flying over the Philippines, at the Battle of the Bulge in Germany and serving in Africa. The list includes five men from World War I, 28 from World War II, one from the Korean War and six from the Vietnam War.
The memorial is about 16 feet wide and 9 feet high and can be expanded as needed.
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