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Monday, April 21, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 59.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
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War and peace at UW's Memorial Union

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The letter writer to Isthmus made his points clearly and well, in response to an article on the upcoming renovation of the UW's Memorial Union (Arts Beat, 10/15/10).

"When we name something in memoriam, the idea is that we'll remember what we're memorializing when we reference the memorial," the letter writer said. To this end, he urged that stories about the building use its full name: Veterans Memorial Union.


Well, no. According to Ted Crabb, director of the Memorial Union from 1968 to 2002, this was never the name. From its 1928 opening, the building has been Memorial Union.

But, unknown to many, it is indeed a veterans memorial, dedicated to the UW students, faculty and staff who died while serving in the armed forces in the Civil War, Spanish American War and World War I. Their names appear on plaques in a hall on the second floor.

More hidden history: When the other UW campus student building, Union South, opened in 1971, it was dedicated as a peace memorial. Will that dedication be part of the new, rebuilt Union South? UW spokesman Marc Kennedy says this has come up for discussion, but "hasn't been decided yet."

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