Since 2013, “Old War Skule Week” at the University has celebrated the history of the school. Throughout the week, Veteran & Military Student Services, LSU Student Government and Reserve Officers' Training Corps planned events each day in commemoration.
The University’s history dates back to 1806, when it was established as the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy.
“[Old War Skule Week is] just a week to commemorate LSU’s military heritage and ensure that it’s really not forgotten,” said SG Veteran & Military Student Affairs director Mark Frank.
Frank said he was in charge of setting up the week, and he gauged the interest of students, veterans and SG to determine which events to plan.
The week began with a military aerial demonstration on the LSU Parade Ground and a concurrent Purple Heart parking dedication on Tower Drive. Other events throughout the week included a Meet-and-Greet with student veterans, SG and ROTC, and a panel on diversity in the military. A national roll call ceremony on the Parade Ground Friday ended the week-long celebration.
“A lot of people have a false perception of what the military does,” Frank said. “[This week] is really just for those that have fallen for our freedoms to allow us to have different opinions.”
A ceremony dedicating a chair in Tiger Stadium to POW/MIA soldiers Thursday was a really big part of the week, Frank said. During the dedication, a movie was filmed, which will be played on Saturday at halftime during the LSU football game.
On Thursday afternoon, clouds cast a shadow over a somber Tiger Stadium. About 30 people slo…
Frank said this dedication is the first of many POW/MIA seats to be dedicated around campus. They will soon make their way into each of the sport stadiums affiliated with the University, he said.
“That’s just one way that LSU can continue its dedication to its military heritage and to show that it’s a veteran-friendly school,” Frank said.
While this week celebrated the University’s military heritage, Frank said there are other memorials around campus, like Memorial Tower and Memorial Oak Grove, which serve as memories year-round.
Following the national roll call ceremony on the Parade Ground, at which all the names of soldiers from Louisiana whose lives were lost in Operation Iraqi Freedom were called, a ceremony to commemorate the beginning of the restoration of the Memorial Oak Grove monument took place.
“The [Memorial Oak Grove] has been there since before the Student Union was there,” Frank said. “[The University wants] to make it an area where it’s peaceful, but still reverent to the fact that these people made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we have now.”
The monument holds 31 trees representing the soldiers that attended the University whose lives were lost in World War I, as well as one tree for an unknown soldier.
Plans to renovate the memorial include creation of a new monument, redoing the plaques around the trees and overall bringing more light, Frank said.
“This week isn’t just for current veterans,” Frank said. “It’s for former veterans, it’s for all of those that served, whether in uniform or out of uniform, to help maintain the freedoms that we have now.”