Iowa State Memorial Union

Gold Star Hall


Gold Star Hall is the "memorial" in the Memorial Union. In World War I, when a family had a son or daughter in the service, they displayed a card with a simple blue star in their window. When a life was lost, the card with the blue star was changed to one with a gold star - hence the name, Gold Star Hall. The blue/gold star tradition continues, with military families still displaying these symbols.

When the Memorial Union opened in 1928, the names of the Iowa Staters who died in World War I were carved into the walls. In 1969, the names of WWII casualties were mounted on two bronze doors in the zodiac foyer. In 1984, the bronze doors were removed, and the names from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam were engraved into the limestone inside Gold Star Hall. In subsequent years, additional names were engraved for WW I, WW II, Korea, Vietnam and the USS Liberty, as well as Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Gold Star Hall embodies the memorium that the entire building represents. 

This quotation is inscribed in the vestibule, above the zodiac: 

A memorial to the six thousand
Iowa State College men and women
who offered their lives
during the World War in the cause of
human liberty and free government.

Inside Gold Star Hall, over the north door, is this quotation by poet John Drinkwater:

For Thee they died
Master and Maker, God of Right
The Soldier dead are at Thy gate
Who kept the spears of honor bright
And Freedom's house inviolate. 


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