Memorial Union with Americans Flags on Lawn

2021 UC Davis Memorial Day Celebration

by Hailiegh Rose ' 21

The Memorial Union may not be at full capacity; nevertheless, the fallen soldiers will never be forgotten. Tributes over time have honored those who are no longer with us. 

During Memorial Union renovations in 2017, the Gold Star Aggie Wall was created. Janna Tolla, who is the Director of the Memorial Union, stated that the “Gold Star Aggie Wall is the real beauty for highlighting and honoring our Gold Star Aggies year-round. Campus visitors and each class of incoming students can gain an understanding that the UC Davis student union is a memorial union.” While that display may not be available to see in person, the book is available online and tells the stories of each Aggie we’ve lost in military service since World War I. Under normal circumstances, the names of the fallen soldiers are all read aloud by Army ROTC cadets, veterans, and military dependents; however, this year, we will all be responsible to spend time individually reflecting on them.

First-generation ROTC students Cadets Sara Kuehl and Bradley Lafever already started their individual reflection on them. When asked what Memorial Day meant to her, Cadet Kuehl reflected that “Americans go about their everyday lives without thinking about the ultimate sacrifice Armed Force members have made and Memorial Day allows us to pause and take a moment to honor their service. It is also a day to recognize the families that lost someone protecting our country”. Cadet Lafever reflected that “Memorial Day is a day in which we pay homage to the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. We also recognize our fallen brothers’ and sisters’ families live every day in remembrance.” The Cadets and Tolla all remind us how we can continue to honor fallen soldiers year-round and not merely one day a year. Fallen but never forgotten.

Last year the campus paid tribute with Memorial Day Speakers Send Virtual Remembrances and hosted the annual Memorial Day Ceremony virtually. This year’s ceremony will be virtual, like last year, and will be a collection of thoughts and reflections from various members of our campus community to create a video honoring our Gold Star Aggies. The Gold Star Aggies include students and alumni at UCDavis and Memorial Day is an opportunity to observe them ensure that their legacies are never forgotten. Look for the announcement later this month on Dateline on how you can view the video.