KNOXVILLE Tenn. (WATE) – On Sunday, the University of Tennessee Army ROTC Alumni Council gathered to memorialize the 367 staff, faculty, and students who lost their lives while in service.
The ceremony was held at the Armed Forces Veterans Memorial on the UT campus and included friends and family of those who were memorialized. Two names were added to the memorial: Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Trane McCloud of the Marine Corps, and Sergeant David A. Stephens of the United States Army.
The event included laying a wreath to honor the soldiers who died in combat since WWI.
“We plan to gather each year to honor the folks listed on the wall, the soldiers listed on the wall, and place a wreath in their honor and that’s what we are doing today,” said council president Geoff Freeman.
While the ceremony was held to commemorate those who died, it also celebrated the UT veterans who survived. Wade Hutchens, a friend of Lt. Col. McCloud, said the event was also for the people who loved them.
“Tragedy brings us all here, but the families need to be told thank you as well, you know the families make sacrifices… When service members go to serve and certainly when we lose a service member, there is no bigger sacrifice than that and those sacrifices go on for the rest of their lives,” said Hutchens.
The alumni council hopes to continue this ceremony as a tradition each year and to add names to the memorial as they are discovered.
“Placing a wreath is a physical way of saying ‘we remember,’” said Freeman.