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K-State Today

December 13, 2017

Chapman Center students contribute to new World War II memorial

Submitted by Margaret Cody

A new World War II memorial was officially opened at Manhattan's City Hall on Nov. 10. The memorial takes the form of a wall of honor that has been installed in the City Hall building, just outside of Peace Memorial Auditorium.

Students and staff members from the Chapman Center for Rural Studies, based in Leisure Hall on K-State's campus, provided invaluable assistance in research and documentation to the memorial project, devoting many hours to the collection, preservation, interpretation and dissemination of historic materials related to World War II. In particular, the Chapman Center helped to design and implement an interactive digital kiosk to help tell the story of World War II through the lives of Riley County servicemen, and to preserve their legacy for future generations.

The memorial project itself has been in the making since 2012 when the City Commission began making plans to replace much of Peace Memorial Auditorium with new office space. Over the years it had been mostly forgotten that the auditorium was actually dedicated as a living memorial to the veterans from Riley County who served, and particularly those who lost their lives, in World War II. When a group of concerned citizens brought this information to light, city officials decided that plans to replace the auditorium would be halted — with one condition. The public must raise funds for the improvement of Peace Memorial Auditorium to ensure that its role as a monument would never be forgotten again.

The opening of the new memorial wall represents a major step in fulfilling that commitment. With help from citizens, businesses, and organizations from across Riley County and beyond, the Friends of Peace Memorial Auditorium managed to raise enough money to fund the memorial project and, with continued support, will be able to make further renovations and improvements to the auditorium itself going forward.

The Chapman Center for Rural Studies is proud to have done its part toward making this memorial project a success. If you have any information about local World War II veterans that you are willing to share with us, contact the Chapman Center at 785-532-0380, or send an email to chapmancenter@k-state.edu