In the steamy August heat of 1968, during the height of the Vietnam War, Landis Cervenka ’69 arrived on campus eight days early for mandatory Aggie Band practice. One afternoon, following the end of rigorous training, he found time to thoroughly explore campus. With the sun beating down on his back and history weighing on his mind, Cervenka traversed campus, taking particular note of the war memorials and tributes.
It dawned on Cervenka that there were no memorials for Aggies who gave their lives for their country after World War II ended, despite the hundreds of Korean and Vietnam War casualties. He knew that if the war didn’t end soon, he and his peers would likely be sent off to join the fight.
“The draft was still shipping out any man they could to Vietnam, so the writing was on the wall,” Cervenka recalled. “We knew what was going to happen once we graduated. And we knew it had already happened to others.”
Instead of waiting for someone else to memorialize his fallen Aggie brethren, Cervenka took action.