Recovered plaque honoring North Park University vets to be dedicated on 70th anniversary of WWII’s end
CHICAGO, Sept. 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — After spending decades in storage, a memorial plaque honoring North Park faculty and students who lost their lives in World War II will be rededicated Friday by the North Park Student Veterans Association.
Dr. John Laukaitis, Assistant Professor of Education, discovered the bronze plaque while doing research on the university during the war.
The re-dedication event will honor each of the 45 fallen soldiers, as well as the University, which took a progressive stance during and after the war by honoring all its fallen community members, including men of color.
“Dr. Laukatis’s research has brought to light the significant role this university played in the war and in the racial climate of the era, when people of color were expected to serve a country that did not serve them in return,” said Renee Martinez, advisor to the Student Veterans Association. “It was a very controversial statement to be publicly made 70 years ago.”
Student-Veteran Lauds Renewed Interest in Plaque
Student and veteran Nicholas Canete (’18) acted immediately when he heard about the discovery, urging Balsam and North Park to reinstall the plaque as a tangible reminder of the toll war can take on a college’s student body.
“Nine months before my arrival on campus, I was on an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf launching air strikes against ISIS every day,” Canete recalled of his life just prior to enrolling at North Park in 2015. “Then, suddenly I’m sitting in the comfort of a classroom where the conversation was mostly theoretical.”
Canete says the North Park community eased his transition to college life with its warmth and hospitality, and lauds the decision to reinstall the plaque where everyone can see it.
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SOURCE North Park University