WWII memorial to be dedicated on Friday

A dedication ceremony for the permanent World War II memorial on the UCA campus will take place at 1 p.m. on Friday, October 3.

The memorial honors the memory of the 41 Arkansas State Teachers College (now UCA) alumni who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the war.

The ceremony will take place at the memorial site in front of McAlister Hall. President Lu Hardin will speak as will Director of State Veterans Affairs Nick Bacon. An Honor Guard from the Little Rock AFB is slated to be present. The ceremony is open to the public.

In 1946, the school originally honored the alumni who died in the conflict by planting 41 oak trees in their memory. Bryant said it was thought the oak trees that now line Donaghey Avenue and stand in front of Wingo, McCastlain and Bernard Hall, would always be remembered as a living memorial to UCA’s war dead; however, as time passed and as students graduated, and new faculty and staff joined the institution, the memory of the trees faded into obscurity in that permanent marker had been placed near the trees to explain why they were planted. And it wasn’t until the late 1990s that the memory of the trees was resurrected.

In a letter to President Hardin, Bryant asked if something could be done to mark the intent of the school?s original WWII memorial.

Hardin agreed and asked Bryant to chair a committee that would create a permanent memorial with wording that would properly honor those UCA alumni who had given the ultimate sacrifice.

Hardin also instructed that the monument give an explanation of the oak trees that were originally planted to be a living memorial. The monument is made of black granite and is 4′ 8″ wide. It stands six feet tall. The wording is in gold. The front carries the epitaph and the names of all those UCA alumni who died in the war. The back has an explanation of the oak trees, and the official name of the memorial, along with the nation?s official emblem, the eagle.

-Tommy Jackson