With alumni having served their nation for nearly 175 years, The Citadel's Class of 1967 has funded a $1 million project, The Citadel War Memorial, at a Charleston groundbreaking ceremony Nov. 4.
Envisioned as a place for cadets, alumni, students, faculty and staff as well as campus visitors to gather in honor of the institution’s fallen heroes, the memorial groundbreaking coincided with The Citadel’s Homecoming for 2016, observed at the designated site along the campus’ aptly named Avenue of Remembrance in a spot adjacent to Summerall Chapel.
Lt. Gen. John B. Sams Jr., member of the Class of 1967 and chair of The Citadel Board of Visitors, expressed satisfaction with the inception of the project, noting that it has been on the table for several years.
“I am pleased that this vision is finally coming to fruition and that we are able to honor all Citadel alumni who have made the ultimate sacrifice,” Sams said. The memorial design will feature iron gates leading the way into a courtyard with black granite walls bearing inscriptions about The Citadel’s role in history.
Lt. Gen. W. Michael Steele, also in the Class of 1967 and former chairman of The Citadel Board of Visitors, noted that their class recorded the highest number of Vietnam casualties of all.
“Our class … started thinking about how many Citadel alumni have perished in conflicts serving their nation and how we could best honor them,” Steele said. “They have done their duty, they have served with honor, and we needed to do something on campus to respect their service and sacrifice.”
The structure’s designer John Gardner is also a Vietnam veteran and serves as The Citadel’s resident architect. In addition to historical information, the memorial will show the names of all alumni who, since 1846, have sacrificed their lives in U.S. national conflicts.
Official dedication of The Citadel War Memorial is scheduled for Homecoming of 2017, also The Citadel’s 175th Anniversary.