Message to the Faculty and Staff About Memorial Day Ceremony

5.23.17

Dear UC Davis faculty and staff,

Up until the recent remodeling of our Memorial Union, Campus Recreation and Unions had an employee perform a decades-old daily ritual with an old binder on display in a student lounge. The binder, known as theGolden Memory Book, chronicles the lives of our Aggies who died in military service. The employee would open the display case to turn a page, so that each of the known 135 fallen Aggies would continuously have their day in the sun. 

I mention this because the sun on these heroes is about to shine a lot brighter. At 5 p.m. this Thursday, May 25, during our fifth annual Memorial Day Ceremony, we will unveil a beautiful new memorial for these “Gold Star Aggies” in the MU’s East Wing. 

Behind a ceremonial black curtain in the hallway is a long, handsome redwood-paneled wall with columns of metal placards engraved with the names of UC Davis students and alumni who lost their lives in the line of military duty, since World War I. The typewritten memory book is on display, but visitors can scroll through its digital version on touch-screen monitors to see the soldiers’ photos and learn of their hometown, college major, military history and circumstances of their death.

Captain (John) Davies was killed in action while strafing the Nazi air base at Lonate Pozzoli, Italy.

Major (Masaki) Hattori was killed while piloting a reconnaissance aircraft on 4/23/68 in South Vietnam.

(Lt. Col. Mark Taylor) was killed on March 20, 2004 in a rocket-propelled grenade attack on his base in Fallujah.

One of the goals of the MU renovation, completed earlier this month, was to visually amplify the fact that the 62-year-old building is more than a student union – that it also stands as a memorial to the casualties of war and as a home for our students who served in the military.

The renovation achieved this in a wonderful way, replacing a less prominent shrine in a dimly lit corner of the former Griffin Lounge, and relocating our veterans services from Dutton Hall to the second floor of the MU. 

I encourage all of you to visit the new memorial and learn the stories of our Gold Star Aggies.

Sincerely,

Ralph J. Hexter
Interim Chancellor