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ROTC assumes Memorial Book duties

Linda Russell discusses the Memorial Book page-turning duties with ROTC cadet Kyle Bruffy.

2:45 p.m., Sept. 14, 2006--Each work day for more than 15 years, Linda Russell, assistant to the chairperson of the English department, has turned one page in the Memorial Book honoring Delaware's World War I dead, which is displayed in a glass-covered case in the lobby of Memorial Hall.

On each page is the name and biography of a Delawarean who lost his or her life while serving in the military during World War I.

But Russell retires from the University this fall, so, on Sept. 28, UD's ROTC cadets will assume the responsibility for maintaining the page-turning tradition.

“It's been a privilege to turn the pages of the Memorial Book as I was a part of a living memorial to those Delawareans who died defending our country during the Great War. Turning the responsibility over to UD ROTC cadets will make the tradition much more meaningful. The cadets who turn the pages will not only honor those who died for our country, but they also will have a moment to reflect on their commitment as future officers in the U.S. Army or U.S. Air Force,” she said.

From the 1930s through the '40s, ROTC cadets turned the pages of the the book in a subdued ceremony in which a cadet would take one step up to the Book of the Dead in the lobby, unlock its glass case and turn one page. In the late 1940s, the staff of the Arts and Science Advisement Center took over the task.

Memorial Hall (then Memorial Library) was conceived in 1918 at the end of World War I by UD trustee H. Rodney Sharp as a living monument to “the memory of the men and women in this state who took part in the war.” To emphasize that purpose, a book was compiled with each page containing the names and biographies of those Delawareans who died in “the World War.”

Article by Barbara Garrison
Photos by Tyler Jacobson

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