Veterans Memorial

Posted by - - 2000s, Competitors

Through donations by the Class of ’08 and by family members and friends of Whitworth’s fallen soldiers, a veterans memorial was constructed and dedicated during the 2009 Veterans Day ceremony. The memorial, comprising five basalt columns representing the five branches of the armed services, sits below the flagpole outside Cowles Auditorium and bears the names of students who attended Whitworth and died while serving their country:

  • Harry Olson, a student during Whitworth’s first years in Spokane, hoped to become a Presbyterian minister. He was drafted in 1917 and served with the U.S. Army in France. He died June 16, 1918, when he was filling his canteen and was hit by a German artillery shell.
  • Frank Tiffany was among the students who watched Ballard Hall burn to the ground in 1927. He went on to serve in the Philippines as a chaplain at a prisoner-of-war camp, where he organized underground efforts to secure food and medicine for hundreds of suffering prisoners. Tiffany lost his life aboard a torpedoed Japanese prisoner-of-war ship in 1944.
  • Tom Haji, whose father came to the U.S. from Japan, was in high school when the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred, in 1941. Months later, he and his family were sent to an internment camp in California. In 1943 the Hajis were allowed to leave the camp and go to Spokane to work for the railroad; Tom began attending Whitworth at the encouragement of President Frank Warren. Eligible for the draft in 1944, he was deployed to Italy just weeks before the end of the war and was killed in action on April 7, 1945.
  • Forrest Ewens graduated from Whitworth in 2004 and was killed in Afghanistan on June 16, 2006, when his all-terrain vehicle hit an improvised explosive device.

Whitworth’s Veterans Memorial stands as a lasting tribute to these men and is the site of the university’s annual ceremony each November, honoring all who serve. At the memorial’s dedication ceremony, Professor of History Dale Soden shared the stories of the four men whose names appear on the memorial. “When we consider these four men together I know that they share many things in common aside from their connection to Whitworth,” he said. “I very much believe that if they could speak to us now they would stand firmly on the side of hope over fear and cynicism, love over hate, courage over cowardice, humility over arrogance, life over death, and a belief in God over the forces of darkness.”