Knox College installs Memorial Day tribute for fallen soldiers

GALESBURG, Illinois -

At the Ford Center for Fine Arts at Knox College, it's a roll call of honor.

Knox College alumnus Jamie Bjorkman, Class of '57, reads each name.

The names comprise "99 Lives: The Gold Star Memorial Project."

"Knox College was in the fights," Bjorkman said.  "They were fighting their wars."

99 names represent soldiers from Knox College, who were killed during military service in 20th Century wartime.

The exhibit opens at 11 a.m., on Monday, May 28, at the Ford Center.  It free, open to the public and continues through July 9, 2018.

"See who they were," said Ben Hosto, 22, a senior History major.  "Connect with them a little bit. See what they did at the college and during wartime."

Hosto worked closely with Bjorkman during the two-year project.

As a student-athlete, Hosto especially identified with Herbert Miller.

"He was a track athlete," Hosto explained.  "He was a hurdler."

Miller, Class of 1913, was killed in WWI. Hosto could see himself in Miller from a century ago.

"It was just cool to see a connection from a hundred years ago," he continued.

It's a painstaking project to measure and place each photo.  The end result is a meaningful memorial that speaks to the audience.

"A hundred years of struggle," Hosto said.  "What they gave to that, ultimately."

Each photo is more than a picture.  Davenport's John Kohrs died on his 20th birthday.

"He never made it overseas," Hosto said.

Bjorkman hopes that the exhibit is just the start for remembering fallen soldiers from the Knox College community.

"We hope that somebody picks the ball up here and carries it on," he concluded.  "This quest will never end."