WIUM Tristates Public Radio

The Knox College Gold Star Memorial Project

May 27, 2018

A new exhibit at Knox College pays tribute to the school's 98 alumni and one faculty member who died during military service in World Wars One and Two, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

The exhibit is called “99 Lives: The Knox College Gold Star Memorial Project.”  It includes photos and stories about those 99 veterans.  An opening ceremony is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. Monday, May 28, 2018, and the exhibit will remain on display through July 9 in the Ford Center for the Fine Arts on the Knox College campus.  It’s free and open to the public.

Researchers that included Knox College students, staff, and alumni collaborated to create the display.  Senior Ben Hosto said he was especially taken with the story of Curtis Redden, who is the one faculty member honored in the display.

Hosto said Redden fought in the Spanish-American War in the late 1800s, was promoted to Major because of his valor in combat, and then was drafted for World War I roughly 20 years later.

“I can’t imagine what that would be like. Having fought in one war and then having to go back and fight in a second one a couple decades later.  That would be really overwhelming,” Hosto said.

Redden died from war-related injuries in 1919.

Hosto said he became involved in the “Gold Star” project more than a year ago.  He said he originally worked with Knox alumnus Jamie Bjorkman to research college alumni killed in World War I. Library staff put him in touch with other students who were researching war veterans and then someone suggested creating a display to honor those killed in all 20th Century conflicts.

“It’s been fascinating just seeing all the different details of each soldier’s life,” said Hosto, who is a senior from La Moille (IL). “I hope after people see the exhibit they appreciate the sacrifice that these young guys made.”