Honoring MTSU's Fallen
The university's service flag presently contains fifty-five
gold stars, and it is humbling to discover more about those among
this group who have given their lives for their
country. At least five MTSU alumni died during WWI,
including the author of the first alma mater, W.J. McConnell.
MTSU alumni were also some of the first to give their lives in WWII
just after Pearl Harbor in defense of the Aleutian Islands in
Alaska. Throughout the World War II, MTSU students served and
fell in the Pacific Islands, Italy, North Africa, Western Europe
(including D-Day), Eastern Europe, and the China-India-Burma
theater. Two died on Iwo Jima, one during the pre-invasion
reconnaissance as a member of an Underwater Demolitions Team
(predecessors to today's Navy SEALs), and another while trying to
fend off Japanese attackers. During Vietnam, nearly half of
the MTSU casualties, died while trying to assist others during
rescue or close air support missions.
Memorials to MTSU's veterans began in World War I as a
service flag and gold star flag flew in the old auditorium.
As KIAs were reported to the campus, blue stars on the service
became gold stars and moved to the appropriate banner. During
the World War II years, another service flag, this time containing
approx. 800 stars, again hung in the campus auditorium.
Later, to remember those in the MTSU community who have served our
country, friends and family planted trees and named roads to honor
our veterans, but the largest memorial, the Alumni Memorial Gym
(1950), honors nearly forty MTSU students killed in World War II
and contains a plaque with their names. The MTSU ROTC
detachment, established in 1953, have dedicated a memorial library
and maintain other small memorials in and around Forrest Hall to
honor those from the program who have fallen.