Honoring those who served

Recognizing the men and women who served our nation in times of war keeps us mindful of the freedoms we enjoy. To ensure that their sacrifices are not forgotten, we honor those who stood proudly for us so that we might live fully and learn to better understand and create opportunities for a more peaceful world.

Sites on campus where we remember our veterans

Memorial Way

From the campus entrance at Northeast 45th Street to the flagpole turnaround at Kane Hall, we are reminded that others walked before us, and that at this formal entry to campus, the stone pylons, the sycamore trees, memorials and plaques are here today to connect us to history and to each other as citizens of the world.

WWI Memorial

The 58 London Plane sycamore trees that line Memorial Way from Northeast 45th Street to the flagpole were planted on Armistice Day 1920 to honor of the UW students and faculty who died in World War I. This campus entrance is framed by two stone pylons that were placed there in 1928. They carry plaques with the names of UW individuals who lost their lives in World War I.

From the Archives: Read more about Memorial Way in an article from Columns Magazine.

Spanish Civil War Monument

The first major monument in the United States to American volunteers in the Spanish Civil War was dedicated on Oct. 14, 1998. The monument, which was privately financed, is located on the west side of the HUB — the student union building. It is a granite stone with a bronze, sculpted plaque mounted on it. The plaque honors the 11 University of Washington students, 3,000 Americans and 40,000 international volunteers who fought in the International Brigades between 1936 and 1939. The monument’s artist was sculptor David Ryan of Oakland, Calif.

From the Archives: Read more about the Spanish Civil War Monument in 1998 article.

WWII Memorial – Interrupted Journey

This memorial, designed by Seattle artist Jon Gierlich and dedicated in 2001, is located at the flagpole at the south end of Memorial Way and is a memorial to UW students, alumni, faculty and staff who gave their lives in World War II. The commemorative sculpture uses “rings of memory” to symbolize the transition from peace to war and finally to peace again. Gierlich, who taught at Cornish College of the Arts, designed the piece so that rings of stonework that surround the flagpole are set up so that viewers are both allowed and encouraged to enter the piece.

Medal of Honor

Located at the turnaround where Memorial Way meets Kane Hall, this memorial names eight alumni who are recipients of the highest U.S. military honor given, the Medal of Honor:

  • Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, major, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve
  • Deming Bronson, first lieutenant, U.S. Army
  • Bruce Crandall, lieutenant colonel (ret.), U.S. Army
  • Robert E. Galer, brigadier general (ret.), U.S. Marine Corps
  • John D. “Bud” Hawk, sergeant, U.S. Army
  • Robert Leisy, second lieutenant, U.S. Army
  • William Kenzo Nakamura, private first class, U.S. Army
  • Archie Van Winkle, colonel (ret.), U.S. Marine Corps

Since 1862, 3,448 U.S. service members have received the Medal of Honor. The memorial is anchored by a five-point star, similar to the medal star. At the north point of the circle is a “book stone.” A plain serpentine rock that sat for years outside the UW sculpture studio was split open like a book and polished. “The stone glows like ordinary people courageous enough to do something extraordinary for their fellow human beings,” said sculptor Heidi Wastweet, who was involved in the project. A basalt column in front of the stone features the face of Minerva, goddess of both wisdom and war, who is pictured on the medal. Near those rocks are four sentinel stones surrounding one with bronze wording from the recipients’ Medal citations. “We want to inspire students who walk around and through the memorial,” Wastweet said. “We want them to think that if these alumni could do extraordinary feats, then they can, too.” Artist Michael Magrath, a UW visiting scholar in sculpture and public art; Heidi Wastweet, a Seattle sculptor; and Dodi Fredericks, a landscape architect, designed the memorial.

From the archives: Read a 2009 article about the Medal of Honor memorial. Also visit the website about the dedication of the memorial.

More about the Medal of Honor memorial

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