A Bethel War Memorial?
In the last two years I’ve developed an interest in the history of war commemoration, writing about it from time to time at my personal blog and even keeping — very irregularly — a photoblog on the subject. So as I’ve started to research how Bethel and other colleges and universities here in the Twin Cities experienced the two world wars, I’ve naturally wondered how they’ve commemorated our century of warfare.
I wanted to do some firsthand investigation of that question, so I spent last Monday morning visiting several local campuses. Here’s what I found in the way of war/veterans memorials:
The newest memorial on a Twin Cities campus: the Kenneth H. Dahlberg Memorial to Service at Hamline University, dedicated in October 2013 in honor of the 119 students who served during the Civil War and all others who have served (in the military or other forms of service) since. It’s named for a Hamline trustee who was an ace fighter pilot in WWII.
Behind the statue of Martin Luther at St. Paul’s Concordia University (a Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod school) is the Lutheran Memorial Center, dedicated in 1953 in honor of those who had served in WWII. Originally an auditorium and gym (it now houses admissions and other offices), it’s an example of the post-WWII trend to build “living memorials” rather than statues, columns, or other traditional structures.
The WWI memorial plaque in Old Main at Macalester, hanging directly across from…
…Macalester’s WWII memorial plaque, with an inscription echoing Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
I’m cheating a bit here… This is the Ramsey County WWI Memorial, erected in 1922 by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Overlooking the Mississippi River, it stands just south of the St. Thomas campus in Shadow Falls Park, comprised of land given to the city by the school’s founder, Archbishop John Ireland.
Inscription on the Ramsey County WWI Memorial just south of St. Thomas, with quotation from John 15:13
Originally, the state’s WWI memorial was the football stadium constructed on the University of Minnesota campus in 1924. While Memorial Stadium was demolished in 1992, this surviving gate was incorporated into the facility that took its place, McNamara Alumni Center.
The Golden Gophers football team moved back outdoors in 2009, at TCF Bank Stadium (just a block from the old stadium’s location). Its southwest corner incorporates this “Veterans Tribute” – to Minnesotans who have served in American wars.
All very interesting (you can read more about Memorial Stadium and the “living memorial” phenomenon at my blog), but it left open this question: Has Bethel ever had a war or veterans memorial?
If there’s such a memorial on campus, I’m not aware of it after more than eleven years in Bethel’s employ. But was there a memorial at the old campus across from the State Fairgrounds? (And commemoration isn’t just centered on inanimate objects… Has Bethel ever had a commemorative ritual — e.g., on Remembrance/Veterans Day?)
You can help us clear this up by leaving a comment below. (Or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.)