SAN ANGELO, Texas — Off to the side of W Avenue N in front of the Angelo State University Administration building lies a stretch of oak trees that stand for so much more than adding beauty to the university’s campus.

The trees have stood strong since 1949 during which San Angelo College students wanted to honor the former students, friends and classmates who were lost in World War II. When the war finally concluded, one-fifth of all the students who had ever attended San Angelo College had served in the Armed Forces and 29 of them had been lost and so 29 oak trees representing each of the deceased were planted and a plaque was placed in their honor.

The living memorial represents the brave souls of; Robert Vance Bennett, Herman L.E. Bierwirth, Douglas Bryant, Clarence Aubrey Coss, Rex Allen Fulghum, Amos Gray, Carroll Henry, William H. Humlong Jr., Henry Douglas Jackson, Ralph M. Jennings, Frank Brooks Landers, Herbert R. Lanford, Lloyd Curtis Mercer, H.C. Mills, James “Wayne” Millsap, Norman G. Ogden, Shed Ragsdale, William C. Rau Jr., Kenneth W. Ripple, E.R. Schindler, Nolen B. Sowell, Finley K. Steele, Elbert O. Stephenson, Franklin Thompson, John P. Treadaway, Frank M. Tubb, Rector E. Whitfield, Thomas C. Wilkinson and Alden R. Witt.

Memorial Oak Grove is tragically one tree short. “The Missing Oak” is Jay Arthur Ryan, whose death on a Japanese prisoner of war transport ship remained unknown for years after the war and the monument’s dedication.

 Today each November on Veteran’s Day, the cadets of Air Force ROTC Detachment 847  hold an all-night vigil in honor and remembrance of these and other ASU students who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.