news-category: Memorial Day Prayer Service

Gardner-Webb Remembers Fallen Soldiers During Memorial Day Prayer Service

Natalie Bishop rings the bell to remember the soldiers

N.C. Senator Ted Alexander is Guest Speaker for Ceremony

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—North Carolina District 44 Senator Ted Alexander spoke at Gardner-Webb University’s Memorial Day Prayer Service on Friday, May 27. He urged those gathered to remember the soldiers who died and the American principles they sacrificed to protect. The service was held in front of E.B. Hamrick Memorial Hall on Quinn Circle, which was built in 1925 and dedicated to the memory of three fallen soldiers. At last year’s Memorial Day service, it was rededicated to include two more alumni who died while serving their country.

“The definition of a memorial is a monument or marker that reminds people of an important event or person; in this case, remind means to cause someone to remember someone or something,” Alexander informed. “On Memorial Day, we are reminding Americans of the someones who have given their lives for our country and the something, which is its ideals. From its inception, Memorial Day has embodied four aspects of remembrance—faith, sacrifice, love and rebirth. It is up to us, everyone here, to pass this on, because it won’t happen by itself. We have to become active participants in relaying to our children and grandchildren the American ideals that these soldiers gave their last full measure to defend.”

North Carolina Senator Ted Alexander speaks to those gathered for the service.

Alexander, a native of Morganton, N.C., has served in the N.C. Senate since 2019. He and his wife, Patti, have two children: Will, who lives and works in Asheville, and Christina, who is an alumna of Gardner-Webb.

Following Alexander’s remarks, Associate Dean of the Library and University Archivist Dr. Natalie Bishop led a remembrance of the fallen. During a moment of silence, Bishop rang a bell 21 times, the highest military honor given to those who died defending freedom and democracy. To conclude the solemn moment, Associate Vice President of Marketing Wilson Brooks played Taps.

Gardner-Webb President Dr. William Downs gave the closing remarks, again underscoring the significance of Memorial Day. “Our enduring obligation as Americans and as members of the Gardner-Webb University family is to treat Memorial Day as much more than simply a day off from work,” Downs affirmed. “Memorial Day is our solemn responsibility to carry out our lives in ways that would have made those who lost theirs proud. President John F. Kennedy once said on an occasion such as this, ‘As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.’ Let us all please commit to living up to that very high standard. If we do that, then we ensure that those throughout our nation’s history who have fallen in battle did not make their sacrifice in vain.”

The program also included a welcome by Vice President for Advancement Nate Evans, and the invocation by Vice President for Christian Life and Service and Senior Minister to the University Tracy Jessup.

Gardner-Webb President Dr. William Downs gives closing remarks.

Gardner-Webb Alumni who Gave Their Lives in Service to Their Country

  • The first three were students at Boiling Springs High School who gave their lives serving in World War I:
    • Ira Alberto Crabtree
    • William Norwood Huggins
    • Copher Meade Ewing
  • More recent alumni:
    • Lt. Col. William Barkley Jr., class of 1975, who gave his life, along with his co-pilot and crew, while test flying a helicopter near the Marine Corps Air Station, Quantico, Va., on May 19, 1993.
    • US Army Green Beret, Staff Sgt. Jerry Gass, class of 2003, who served his country as a member of Company C, 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group and was stationed at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, N.C.
Associate Vice President of Marketing Wilson Brooks played the national anthem and Taps.
Bulldog Dialogue Episode 4 features N.C. Senator Ted Alexander.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to six professional schools, 14 academic departments, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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