Each Veterans’ Day cadets from AFROTC and Army ROTC units at the University of Portland stand 24-hour vigil at the Praying Hands Memorial within the circle of The Broken Wall Memorial. The brick segments forming the Broken Wall carry the names of UP war-dead: fallen service personnel from the university family.
Veterans’ Day itself honors the all and many who have served in the military branches of the nation. The UP detachment of Air Force ROTC came to our campus July 1, 1951; with 300 students the first year; 450 by the second. Until 1965, enrollment in AFROTC substituted for a Physical Education requirement and was compulsory for UP freshmen and sophomore males. Though everyone drilled for a semester or two, the more modest goal of the Air Force was to commission approximately 50 graduating students each year. (The Army ROTC detachment did not arrive on campus until 1992.)
The Broken Wall Memorial was dedicated twenty-five years ago on Veterans’ Day in 1990. The south quad site marks the geographic location where a large proportion of the student body would muster each year for Campus Day celebrations in the 1950s and 60s. And so in addition to honoring fallen alumni, the cadet vigil at the circle of memory continues today a long, long UP tradition of national service.
For related posts on the Broken Wall Memorial and Veterans Day Observance:
Photo gallery (all images from the University Archives; click on photos to enlarge):