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Veterans honored at memorial dedication ceremony on campus

"All gave some, some gave all," David Lawrence, a veteran and Miami University class of '64, said during his speech at the dedication ceremony for Miami's newly constructed Veterans Memorial at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 11, Veterans Day.

The memorial was constructed between the Campus Avenue Building and Wells Hall and was proposed by Lawrence and Dave Miller, Miami class of 1960. The logistics for the project have been underway for about five years. The effort began as a way to provide a space on campus for veterans and their families.

The total cost of the memorial project was $600,000 dollars, all of which was funded by contributions from alumni and their family members, said Evan Lichtenstein, senior director of development for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Many alumni came to the ceremony to be honored and to pay tribute to those who served.

"It's beautifully done," said Mike Evans, a serving member of the military from 1970 to '90. He specifically stated how he appreciated the engraving of the names of men who lost their lives or were missing in action. He even knew William Higgins and Terry Graves from his time at Miami and was happy to see their names being honored.

Along with the memorial, a student veteran center also opened Sunday in Wells Hall to serve as a place for veterans and military-affiliated students to hang out together.

The Glee Club performed old-time military songs as the ceremony commenced, adding an element of spirit and tradition to the atmosphere.

Veterans stood as their branch was called out during a musical number about each branch of the military.

The memorial, itself, includes a virtual feature where veterans can access a searchable database of all the alumni from Miami who served and currently active members in the military.

The memorial was designed by Miami architect emeritus, Robert Keller, who composed the structure with five different elements in mind that work in unison to represent honor, justice and freedom. One of these elements is a five-pointed star that points to the entrances that each hold a planter box and a seal for each of the five branches of the military.

"It's not big, it's not gaudy, it's just a neat memorial," Jim Bodmer, Navy veteran and Miami class of 1960, said.

"[Some of the Miami students] split on separate trains, and some of them later met in the civil war," said Evans.

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Miami's history of students serving the country through military service goes as far back as the Civil War, in which students from the university fought on both sides of the conflict. The memorial commemorates fallen soldiers from both the Union and Confederate armies.

Because the event took place on Veterans Day, some used this ceremony as an opportunity to pay tribute to those in active service.

"I think my dad would be pleased," Daniel Smith, a first-year history major, said. "Growing up, every Veterans Day we would always go to the nearest national cemetery, so I decided to continue on with that."

Smith's father currently serves in the Air Force, and Smith attended the ceremony on Sunday so he could pay tribute to him and carry on their tradition.

"I really like [the memorial], it's different," Bodmer said. "It just stands out."