EWU Honors Memorial Day

May 24, 2024

As our nation remembers the military personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice, Eastern is paying tribute to its own student and alumni heroes with its annual Memorial Day remembrance exhibit in the JFK Library.

“The display in JFK is a way to allow veterans and all campus members to reflect on the sacrifices made by our service members over the years – especially our EWU alumni, who have served and given their lives to protect our freedoms,” says Dave Millet, a U.S. Army veteran of 25 years and founding director of EWU’s Veterans Resource Center.

This year’s display, which runs through June 2 in JFK’s Secrist Gallery, remembers university-affiliated service members who lost their lives in defense of our nation.

Created by EWU’s Veterans Resource Center (VRC), the university’s ROTC program and the library, the exhibit includes books depicting the experiences of veterans who served during wars and conflicts; flags honoring each of the branches of the U.S. Military; and medals, photos, art and other remembrances honoring Eastern students and alumni lost over the years.

[To appreciate some of the history of our Eastern Eagles who fought and died while serving our country, see this previous Inside EWU story.]

Among the nearly 50 Eastern Eagles lost during WWI, WWI and the Koran and Vietnam wars was Bruce Alan Grandstaff of Spokane.

Grandstaff, a sergeant first class in the U.S. Army, died at the age of 32 while risking his own life to save members of his 30-soldier platoon as they fell under heavy attack during a reconnaissance mission near the Cambodian border, in Vietnam. His heroic efforts stopped the enemy from advancing while saving the lives of eight men. (Grandstaff is listed, along with the 58,318 other military personnel who lost their lives during the Vietnam War, on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall.)

Grandstaff was continuing his military science studies at Eastern Washington State College (now EWU) when he reenlisted in the Army and, in 1961, was deployed to Vietnam. He died in 1967, leaving behind a wife and three daughters, including one who was just several days old when her father passed.

Grandstaff was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. In addition, the local veteran’s hospital, located in northwest Spokane, was renamed the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in 2013 in honor of Grandstaff and another hero from the region, Joe Mann.

Grandstaff, the only Fighting Eagle Cadet to ever be recognized with the Medal of Honor, is remembered online as a member of EWU ROTC Gold Star Alumni family and included in the JFK exhibit.

“Putting this display out around Memorial Day will hopefully help everyone understand the importance of Memorial Day and the impact it has on those who have lost loved ones in the line of duty,” Millet says.

**Please join the Veterans Resource Center Spring Social from 11:30. a.m.-1 p.m., on Wednesday, May 29 on the Showalter lawn right outside the VRC offices. The event celebrates the end of the academic year and the ROTC’s graduating seniors. There will be other veteran agencies in attendance. Classmates, families and friends are welcome.