21st Century Memorial Dedication Wren Building
President W. Taylor Reveley, College of William & Mary, Nov. 8, 2014
21st Century Memorial Dedication
November 8, 2014
President W. Taylor Reveley
President, College of William and Mary
Friends, we gather this morning in the ancient Sir Christopher Wren Building, William & Mary’s holy of holies. Here, in its central hall hang five plaques honoring William & Mary’s alumni and faculty who have fought, many of whom died, in service to our country. In the College’s 322 years, the names of 215 students and eight professors have been etched in these memorials. These soldiers from William & Mary saw action on the battlefields of the American Revolutionary War, Civil War, World Wars I and II, Korea, and Vietnam. We do not have the names of those who fought in Virginia’s colonial conflicts, and we also lack the William & Mary alumni who fought in the War of 1812 and our conflicts with Mexico and Spain.
Today, we dedicate a sixth plaque to honor two members of the William & Mary family who have fought and died in more recent conflicts. We now place the names of Ryan McGlothlin and Todd Weaver in their rightful place among their fellows in arms honored on William & Mary’s most sacred wall. On this wall their names will be remembered for as long as there is a William & Mary, and this is to be “for all time coming,” in the words of our royal charter.
William & Mary students have been patriots and soldiers for over three centuries, beginning well before the United States came into existence. Like many of those who fought before them, Ryan and Todd could have chosen a different path. They did not confront the choice of either volunteering for service or being drafted. They chose to volunteer. And they were among the best of William & Mary’s best – both powerful intellects who graduated from the Colleges Phi Beta Kappa, both natural leaders, both young men of enormous accomplishment and even greater promise. Stirred to action by the attacks of September 11th, Ryan and Todd enlisted in defense of their country -- Ryan in the Marines and Todd in the Army.
When Ryan fell in Iraq in 2005 and Todd in Afghanistan in 2010, each bravely in combat, those of us at William & Mary lost cherished alumni and friends. The McGlothlin and Weaver families suffered the terrible loss of sons.
It is our honor to have Ryan’s parents, Don McGlothlin and Ruth McGlothlin, and Todd’s parents, Donn & Jeanne Weaver, with us this morning as well as several members of their families. Ties between William & Mary and the McGlothlins and Weavers run deep. We have mourned with you, and we now have carved in stone William & Mary’s abiding commitment to your sons.
In a few moments, I will ask Ryan’s and Todd’s parents to unveil the plaque. A striking feature is the open space beneath Todd’s name. Though we hope against hope no future William & Mary families will lose sons or daughters in combat for his or her country, we know this may not be how our national life evolves, and we know if the terrible needs arises, William & Mary people will respond.
Professor John McGlennon of the Government Department will now say a few words, as will Lieutenant Colonel Jim Kimbrough, who leads William & Mary’s ROTC program. After Col. Kimbrough speaks, we will have a moment of silence as the Wren bell tolls twice.