When walking along a shady path bordering Forest Home Drive in the F.R. Newman Arboretum, a sign recessed in the vegetation – with the simple words “memorial area” – signals entry into the heart of the Floriculture War Memorial.
This leafy area honors the 14 students in what was then the Floriculture Department who lost their lives in the two world wars. The memorial is one of several sites at Cornell Botanic Gardens that honor members of the Cornell community, who served in the U.S Armed Forces, and it is among the many enduring acknowledgements of veterans across the Cornell campus.
Many of Cornell’s sites honor those who served in World War I and World War II – not surprising, as the university dispatched thousands of its own to serve in those conflicts. During WWI, Cornell provided 4,598 commissioned officers to the war effort, more than any other institution, including West Point.
The Cornell Veteran’s Colleague Network Group is doing the ongoing work of identifying and documenting sites at Cornell that honor military veterans and making this information available on its Cornell University Veterans Memorials website. The group also organizes running and walking tours of military-related sites at Cornell.
Cornell Botanic Gardens has five places – Sackett Bridge, Leon Ballord Allen Trail, the Palmer-Kinne Dogwood Collection, the Floriculture War Memorial and the Southeast Overlook – that recognize the service of veterans across generations.
Shannon Dortch is associate director of communications and marketing for Cornell Botanic Gardens.