Student-designed Freedom from Terror
Memorial dedication scheduled Oct. 17


The Texas A&M University Freedom from Terror Memorial, a gift from the College of Architecture’s Classes of ’68 and ’03 designed by Texas A&M graduate architecture students, will be dedicated by Texas A&M President Elsa Murano in a special ceremony slated 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17.

The memorial, located at the corner of Coke and Lubbock streets on the Texas A&M campus, was conceived to honor Aggies who have given their lives in the effort to combat terrorism, as well as those who guard and protect the United States from terrorist attacks.

The monument was designed by Jorge Martinez, David McMillin, Hernan Molina, and Mariano Ortiz while they were graduate architecture students at Texas A&M. Their design was chosen from 27 entries in a 2006 collegewide competition sponsored by college’s classes of ’68 and ’03.

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, to do a competition for the Texas A&M campus,” said McMillin. “It was an opportunity to leave something behind on campus that we’re proud of and will be there forever.”

In addition to Murano, other scheduled speakers at the Oct. 17 dedication will be retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Hal Hornburg ’68, and U.S. Marine 1st Lt. Dan Moran ’03.

Hornburg entered the Air Force in 1968 as a graduate from Texas A&M’s Corps of Cadets with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance. He retired in 2005 as the commander of the Air Combat Command, headquartered at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, and air component commander for the U.S. Joint Forces Command and U.S. Northern Command.

Hornburg commanded a composite fighter wing during Operation Desert Storm and directed air operations over Bosnia.

While serving in Iraq in October 2006, Moran, the other speaker, was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED), suffering second- and third-degree burns over more than half his body.

While recovering at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Moran and his fellow patients were visited by U.S. Department of Defense secretary Robert Gates, who as Texas A&M University president in 2003 awarded Moran his degree.

“We wanted some sort of remembrance to soldiers and protectors and how it relates to Texas A&M,” said McMillin about the discussions he and his fellow designers had when they were creating the memorial’s design. “We wanted something that was permanent, so we thought of concrete.” The design features a 22-foot concrete wall with a gap close to one side.
“The wall is incomplete, like it’s missing something,” said McMillin. “We wanted to show that part of your police, part of your people dedicated to protecting your freedom have passed away.”
The memorial also features three rows of 12 box-like shapes leading to the wall, which represent people who are involved in the battle against terrorism.

“There’s a horizontal plane that is sunken into the ground with these three (rows), where at one time we had four. We were thinking about a field, and how soldiers might be lined up in regiments, standing at attention, paying respect to something, in this case, paying respect to what this wall is representing,” he said.

“We kept talking, discussing, and developing, and it kept getting closer to what we were thinking about. The field of boxes was then cut down to 12 in a row because of the 12th Man spirit at Texas A&M,” said McMillin. Then the team removed a row of boxes from the design, creating a gap, which they lined up with the gap in the wall.

The designers were also considering what the memorial would look like at night.

“In place of the row of boxes we took away, we added light fixtures. During the daytime it looks sort of off balance, off center, like a missing person formation,” said McMillin. “At night, the lights illuminate where those boxes would have been and it completes the array as a symbol of hope that we can get out of this, and that freedom will emerge. The slot in the wall also has lights that represent the idea of the wall healing itself, giving hope that freedom will prevail.”

- September 29, 2008 -

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