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Memorial Day Ceremony: 135 flags, 135 names

By Dave Jones on May 19, 2015 in University

See a report and slideshow from the ceremony.


By Dateline staff

For the first time, a display of 135 U.S. flags — representing the Aggie soldiers, sailors and Marines who gave their lives in military service — will accompany the Davis campus’s annual Memorial Day Ceremony, this Thursday (May 21).

The 5 p.m. ceremony, open to the public, will be held as always at the Memorial Union, which opened 60 years ago in tribute to our fallen Aggies. Their names, kept in UC Davis’ Golden Memory Book, will be read aloud during the ceremony, which will take place on the MU’s South Patio in view of the flags on the Quad.

Students who are now enrolled at UC Davis will read the names. The Davis Student Veteran Organization and the Veteran Constituency Group are organizing the flag display.

The latter group came together last year to advocate for all veterans on campus, whether they be staff, faculty or students. Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi subsequently recognized the group as an official constituency, and it is participating in the Memorial Day Ceremony for the first time.

Campus Recreation and Unions is organizing the ceremony. It will begin with the campus’s Army ROTC color guard, marching in with the flags. Then come the national anthem (sung by student Emily Robinson) and the Pledge of Allegiance (led by Army ROTC cadet Thomas Van Kirk).

Veteran Constituency Group members Donald Bruun (staff research associate, supervisor, Department of Molecular Biosciences, School of Veterinary Medicine) and Natasha Coulter (undergraduate program adviser, Department of Computer Science) will make a wreath presentation.

ASUCD President Mariah Watson, as emcee, will introduce Lora Jo Bossio, associate vice chancellor, Student Affairs, who will talk about the Memorial Union’s past, present and future.

The past, of course, has to do with the building’s history and naming; the present has to do with construction (the north side and east wing are being renovated); and the future has to do with the good things to come with the project’s completion in the fall of 2016.

Those good things include space for the Veterans Services Office, which will finally have a home in the MU. The renovated building also will include a new display honoring the Aggies who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Army ROTC Cadet Paul Ou-Yang will give the main address (he was chosen by his fellow cadets). Ou-Yang, from Stockton, is an economics major who said he plans to make the Army his career, “because it gives me an opportunity to lead and make real influence in people’s lives.”

Student veterans Jasdeep Brar, Ana Capps, Elias Ervin, Joseph Wetherbee, Elias Sanchez and John Paul Wallis will read the names from the Golden Memory Book, and alumnus Tyler Hager will play taps to conclude the ceremony. A reception will follow in the Coffee House (west side).

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Media contact(s)

Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556,