Every year on Veterans Day, the American Legion Post in Paris places flowers in front of this bronze memorial tablet at Pershing Hall, given by Princeton’s Alumni Association to memorialize the more than 100 alumni, students, and faculty who died in World War I.
The memorial was dedicated July 17, 1930, in the ceremony pictured above. From left, Col. Francis E. Drake, Junius S. Morgan Jr. 1888, the president of the Princeton Club of Paris, U.S. Ambassador Walter E. Edge, and Jules Jusserand, the former French ambassador to the United States, were on hand to mark the occasion. Princeton was the first university to honor its alumni at Pershing Hall. Drake, speaking on behalf of the American Legion, said that he hoped others would follow “so that their rosters may be a matter of permanent record in this memorial building,” a Daily Princetonian article later reported.
According to the Mudd Manuscript Library Blog, after the United States declared war on Germany in April 1917, the University was swift in its response: By December of that year, at least 3,000 Princetonians had enlisted in the military; by the end of the conflict, the number had doubled. Alumni who died in the war were honored with bronze memorial stars on their dormitory windowsills, a practice that began in 1920 and continued for those killed in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
Princeton will hold its annual Veterans Day observance Friday, Nov. 11 at 8:30 a.m. in the Unviersity Chapel. Former Rep. Jim Marshall ’72, a Vietnam War veteran, will deliver remarks.