Remembering and honoring UW’s veterans

In recognition of Veterans Day on November 11, I want to recognize the members of the U.S. Armed Forces who are part of University of Wisconsin–Madison’s heritage and its future.

When you are at a game in Camp Randall, think about how it was once a training ground for soldiers during the U.S. Civil War.

When you stop by the Red Gym, imagine campus when the building was the Armory, home to military training at UW. For some period, as a land-grant institution we were required to offer courses on military tactics.

When you visit the newly renovated Memorial Union, reflect on its dedication to those who fought in the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and World War I. Pause to read some of the names on the Gold Star Honor Roll, a wooden plaque inscribed with the names of those who died in active duty during those wars.

On Saturday, an interactive, electronic kiosk will be unveiled at a ceremony in the Memorial Union’s Memorial Hall commemorating the names of UW-Madison students who died while serving in the armed forces. The new memorial will include soldiers’ names ranging from the Civil War to more recent conflicts.

When you study in the Memorial Library, consider that it honors those who served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.

Today, as you go to class, study, or work on campus, you are likely to interact with a veteran, reservist, or member of the National Guard. Thousands of Badgers — students, staff, faculty, alumni — have served abroad or in domestic duty, such as recent disaster relief. This is a large and diverse group of individuals, whose life experiences and skills enhance our campus in countless ways and embody the Wisconsin tradition of public service.

Please join me in recognizing the service and sacrifices of our present and past Badgers in the Armed Forces on Veterans Day.