Back in July 2021, we highlighted the heroism set to be on display during the soft opening of the new LSU Military Museum, a display for “exhibits and rare memorabilia from LSU staff, faculty and students’ involvement in World War I, World War II and beyond, including the history of ROTC at LSU and LSU’s Ole War Skule traditions dating back to the era of William Tecumseh Sherman.” COVID-19 forced original plans for a November grand opening to be postponed, but now, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 7, the museum will officially open its doors to the public during the grand opening of the William A. Brookshire LSU Military Museum and rededication of Memorial Tower, LSU’s 175-foot bell tower and plaza which has recently undergone $15 million in renovations.
Those who sign up for seating at the ceremony can arrive by 6:15 p.m. for pre-event festivities, including an F-15 flyover and a video detailing LSU’s rich military history, “LSU in Uniform: The Long Purple Line.” American Legion leaders, in the tradition of those who first dedicated the tower in 1926, will also be on hand, along with reenactors portraying some of the university’s most recognizable military figures (look out for a glimpse of Sherman himself). Around 8 p.m., Governor John Bel Edwards, LSU President William F. Tate IV and American Legion National Vice Commander Cory Bates will participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony, after which the doors to the museum will be open for tours.
Those looking for a deeper dive into veterans’ sacrifices over the years can keep an eye out for author Walt Larimore’s book signing for At First Light: A True World War II Story of a Hero, His Bravery, and an Amazing Horse, which we reviewed in inRegister’s April issue. Special copies will be available for signing around 8 p.m. ahead of the book’s official April 19 release, when military buffs and casual readers alike can learn more about the stranger-than-fiction WWII escapes of the late LSU geography professor Phillip B. Larimore.
“The deeper I dug, the more horrified I was, and the more astonished,” says Walt, whose 1.5 million words of research from national archives, interviews with Philip’s acquaintances, and notes from European museums transformed into a narrative with the help of co-author Mike Yorkey. “How many other stories like his have we lost?”
Sign up here to receive a formal invitation to the event, and be sure to check out the LSU Military Museum during its new opening hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, visit olewarskule.lsu.edu or call (225) 578-1860.