Honoring, Remembering Our Own

August 21, 2010—Through the decades, members of the IUP community have demonstrated their honor and respect for those lost in service to their country through memorials in various shapes and sizes.

By Bob Marx with Regan Houser

Click any image below to begin a slideshow of images.

 

Everyone in the southern Indiana County town held their breath waiting to hear the fate of Robert Young, a 1967 graduate of IUP and a captain in the U.S. Army.

It was 1970, and he’d been listed as missing in action in Cambodia. The students and teachers at Jackson Elementary School in Saltsburg were concerned for a second grade teacher, Sharon Gritzen Young ’70, because she was his wife. The students didn’t fully understand all the implications of what missing in action meant, but they knew something was very wrong and didn’t know what to do to help Mrs.Young.

Forty years later*, this is a vivid memory for me, and what strikes me today is that things then—in the little river town of Saltsburg—are not so much different from the IUP community then or now. Concern for others and respect for those who serve their country are part of IUP’s fabric.

Through the years, members of the IUP community have found ways to memorialize members of the university family who have perished in service to their country. In fact, IUP’s campus was the first in the nation to construct a memorial honoring Vietnam veterans.

Thanks to Robert Marx ’69, M’73, who recently retired as IUP’s special assistant to the vice president for Administration and Finance, IUP Magazine is able to share with readers the different ways the university remembers those who have lost their lives in service. Marx, a Vietnam veteran who rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel, served two years on active duty and twenty-six years in the Army Reserves. Marx compiled the information in this photo gallery. It is as complete as records and knowledge allow. In recent years, additional students and alumni have died in the line of duty; their memorials have not yet been constructed.

 
 

Memorial Field House

 
 

On May 28, 1966, the largest and most significant memorial facility on campus, Memorial Field House, was dedicated to the memory of alumni of IUP who lost their lives in the U.S. Armed Services. The Indiana Evening Gazette reported that Lt. General William F. Twain, commanding general of the First U.S. Army, presented the dedication address at the new Field House. The article also listed those to whom the building was dedicated for their service. Among those honored as of 1966 were:

World War I

Wilmer H. Beckley, Harry Fee, Clifford Morrow, Thoburn Smith, J. Charles Sutton, Samuel F. Weigle.

World War II

Joseph R. Abele, Steve Barto, Thomas Bianco, Joseph Croushore, Charles Daugherty, Jr., Norman E. Davis, Charles W. Deptola, Harold Newton Diem, Frank S. Evanko, Robert Louis McGrew, William D. Gahagen, W. Wayne Henderson, Chester E. Howe, Donald G. Kime, Donald King, Nicholas Kish, John Justin Kline, Leonard J. Litzinger, Howard E. Porter, James Vernon Reams, Merle T. Scholl, John Wayne Scott, Effie L. Shields, Samuel R. Shumaker, Albert C. Surra, Laird D. Travis, Lawrence D. Varner, Louis E. Wells, C. William Winger, and Kenneth A. Woodle.

Memorial Field House Plaque

Click any image to begin a slideshow of images.

Korean War

Paul B.Warner

Vietnam War

Harold A. Preisendefer and Clark Robb

Note: The name Ronald Lee Johnston was added to the plaque located in the lobby of Memorial Field House after the death of First Lieutenant Johnston on March 12, 1967.

 
 

—Bob Marx

 
 

Sutton Hall Memorial Plaque

 
 

Located on the first floor of John Sutton Hall near the Blue Room, this plaque was mounted in honor of the men and women of Indiana State Teachers College who served their country in World War II and in memory of those who made the supreme sacrifice.

—Bob Marx

Sutton Hall Memorial Plaque
 
 

Sutton Hall Flag Pole

 
 
Sutton Hall with the memorial flag pole visible at rightIndiana Post No. 1989, Veterans of Foreign Wars, 19531925, by Class of 1915

The flagpole adjacent to Sutton Hall is a memorial to veterans and has been a part of IUP history since it was originally placed on the campus in 1925 in the center of the Oak Grove near Leonard Hall as a gift by the Class of 1915. In 1953, the flagpole was renewed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 1989. With the help of the landscape architectural firm of GWSM, Inc., of Pittsburgh and its staff, including Tom Borellis, who is currently IUP’s director of student housing development, a plan was developed for the relocation of the flag to a more prominent campus location. The original plaques were also relocated to the new base of the flagpole.

—Bob Marx

 
 

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

 
 

IUP has the distinction of being the first college or university in the United States to have a Vietnam Veterans Memorial on its campus. During 1981, the idea for a memorial originated with Robert J. Gault ’83, a veteran of the Marines and past president of the IUP Veterans Club. His idea was shared with student veterans on campus, the Army ROTC Department, President John E. Worthen, Bill Kegel, president of R&P Coal Company, and others. Those contacted regarding the proposal provided enthusiastic support for the project.

Vietnam Memorial
 
 
Closeup of the Vietnam Memorial plaque

For more than a year prior to the dedication, the IUP Veterans Club and the IUP Military Science Department, with the support of President John Worthen and university administrators, worked on designing and building the memorial. The site design for this memorial was completed by GWSM, Inc. of Pittsburgh. Tom Borellis, who now serves as IUP’s director of student housing development, along with his partner in the firm, Bill Mullin, were key in the design and selection of the materials, including the rock that was donated and delivered to the site by the R&P Coal Company.

 
 

The memorial, which was placed near Leonard and Keith halls, was dedicated at noon on November 11, 1982. The university received letters of support on the occasion of the dedication. One such letter, dated November 8, 1982, was from Congressman John P. Murtha, himself a Vietnam veteran, in which he stated, “I feel it is fitting that those dedicated persons who served or presently serve our country be honored in this way.” A second letter was from Ms. Dodie Livingston, special assistant to President Reagan, in which she pointed out, “President Reagan was very happy to hear about the dedication of a memorial to Vietnam Veterans on the campus of Indiana University of Pennsylvania on November 11th.” She also stated, “The President has asked me to send you the enclosed copy of his Veterans Day Proclamation and his warmest good wishes to all who will be with you on this very special day.” The originals of these documents from the White House were given to the IUP archives.

 
 

There are three memorials for individual veterans of the Vietnam War located at Pierce Hall. One is at the foot of a tree at the front of the building along Maple Street in honor of Captain Robert M. Young, who died while a captive in Cambodia on September 17, 1972. The second memorial is a student lounge named for First Lieutenant James K. Flannery, a tank unit commander who was killed by hostile enemy fire in Quảng Tri Province, South Vietnam on April 16, 1970. The third is for Major Richard John Curry who died February 23, 1969, in Biên Hòa Province, South Vietnam.

—Bob Marx

Captain Robert M. Young memorial plaque, by tree in front of Pierce HallCloseup of Captain Robert M. Young memorial plaquePlaque marking James K. Flannery Lounge in Pierce HallMemorial plaque in Pierce HallCloseup of memorial plaque in Pierce HallCloseup of names on memorial plaque in Pierce Hall
 
 

Peace Pole

 
 

The newest campus memorial, dedicated in an April 15, 2008, ceremony, is known as the Peace Pole. It can be found in the grass courtyard of Keith Hall facing the Hadley Union Building parking lot/pedestrian mall.

The Peace Pole replaced fourteen hundred small white wooden crosses that were not well maintained and were not reflective of the honorable recognition of Iraqi War veterans. The initial memorial was established by a student organization known as the Indiana Voices for Peace and was installed on the lawn of Keith Hall on the eve of the first anniversary of the war in Iraq. It had fallen into disrepair and was not kept up by the group, which caused many complaints from students, veterans, and employees.

Peace Pole
 
 

University officials worked with the student organization and their advisor, James Dougherty, to create a new memorial that is supportive of those who have served in Iraq and to provide for tasteful and appropriate recognition of veterans who have given their all.

—Bob Marx

 
 

September 11 Memorial

 
 
September 11 Memorial

In addition to memorials for those who have given their lives in service, IUP also remembers the 3,000 people who lost their lives in the attacks of September 11, 2001. It features a piece of debris from the World Trade Center, right, which is on long-term loan from the Kovalchick Corporation. The relic was dedicated October 4, 2002.

It is accompanied on the left by a granite memorial in honor of all those lost in attack, including three alumni lost in the destruction of the World Trade Center: William Moskal ’79, Donald Jones ’80, and William Sugra ’93.

 
 

Postscript

In Saltsburg, many still remember Robert Young, who died a prisoner of war in 1972. During his captivity, he was cited for meritorious action during a confrontation between the senior ranking officer of his fellow captives and prison camp officials. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal and First Oak Leaf Cluster in recognition of his bravery, aggressiveness, and leadership, in addition to the Bronze Star and the Silver Star

His remains were returned to his widow, Sharon Gritzen Young Nelmes, in 1997 after extensive DNA, anthropological, dental, and forensics testing. He was buried in Edgewood Cemetery in Saltsburg with full military honors. In addition to his wife, he left behind a daughter, Heather, whom he never got to see.

—Regan Houser

 

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