College honors 14 Gettysburgians who made ultimate sacrifice during Vietnam era

Vietnam Memorial Dedication Ceremony

On Veterans Day Weekend, Gettysburg College dedicated a Vietnam Memorial in honor of 13 alumni and one staff member who died while serving in the armed forces of the United States during the 1966-1973 period of the Vietnam War.

Gettysburgians recognized in the ceremony included Ronald Thomson ’60, Edgar Burchell ’62, Joseph Murphy ’63, John Colestock, James Ewing ’65, Andrew Muns ’65, George Callan ’66, Robert Morris ’66, Charles Richardson ’66, J. Andrew Marsh ’67, Stephen Warner ’68, Daniel Whipps ’69, and Stephen Doane ’70, in addition to ROTC instructor Millard Valerius.

Today, their legacies are now immortalized on the Gettysburg College campus—each name etched into the black granite memorial embedded in the exterior of the College Union Building.

Vietnam Memorial Dedication Ceremony

“The location for this memorial is deliberate. Every day, hundreds of Gettysburg students walk across this patio and enter this building. It is a place of fellowship, a place of community,” said President Janet Morgan Riggs ’77 in her dedication remarks.

“Going into the future, our students will look up at this memorial and read the names of these 14 Gettysburgians, 13 of whom were students very much like themselves—going to class, studying in the library, hanging out with best friends and girlfriends, participating in clubs and organizations—individuals who had dreams for the future. As a Gettysburg College family, may we never forget these 14 Gettysburgians, who continue to walk with so many of us in spirit and in our warm memories.”

Black Hawk on Memorial Field

“We mark not only deaths but also legacies, never forgetting that we are still linked to and informed by the character, liveliness, love, and accomplishments of these 14 men,” added Sue Colestock Hill ’67, who helped to spearhead and fund the memorial with a group of devoted alumni.

In addition to the Vietnam Memorial Dedication, attendees from across the state and around the nation experienced a variety of other events, including a panel discussion moderated by History Prof. Michael Birkner ’72, Musselman Library exhibits and reminiscences, and the landing of a U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter on Memorial Field.

To learn more about the Vietnam War era and its impact on Gettysburg College, read the cover story from the spring issue of the Gettysburg Magazine, Complex Memories, and explore Musselman Library’s Vietnam Memorial Project.

View photos from our Vietnam Memorial Dedication weekend.

Vietnam Memorial