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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Local museum showcases artifacts from Aggie War Hymn author

Photo by Photo by Olivia Treadwell

An early copy of the Aggie War Hymn on sheet music is displayed at the Museum of the American G.I. along with Pinky Wilson’s AMC brass.

From the trenches of France to Kyle Field, the Aggie War Hymn has transcended time and has to become the anthem that Aggies know and love today.
The American G.I. Museum in College Station is home to a display featuring the history of the War Hymn and its composer, J.V. Pinky Wilson, Class of 1920.
The American G.I. Museum is dedicated to curating, renovating and displaying the relics of war. The museum houses a World War I exhibit featuring artifacts such as rifles, uniforms, armor, transport vehicles and the only fully-renovated, fully-functioning WWI tank, the French FT-17 light tank.
However, the museum staff wanted to add another product of the war that might resonate with the locals — the Aggie War Hymn. The museum has had a War Hymn exhibit on display since April 6, 2017.
The exhibit houses a variety of items belonging to Wilson, including his Texas A&M belt buckle, “Best Drilled” Corps of Cadets medal and Aggie Ring.
“When we started our WWI exhibit, one of the things that we wanted to do is have that connection back to A&M,” museum curator Leisha Mullins said. “Pinky’s grandson, Scott Walterschied, lives in College Station, so we talked to him and he agreed to loan [the artifacts] to us.”
Next to the exhibit is a painting from local artist Julie Metz, in which Wilson is shown penning the famous “Hullabaloo, caneck, caneck” in the trenches of the Argonne Forest.
“It’s meant to be more than just Pinky,” Mullins said. “Pinky is a symbol in this for anyone who is in the military, whether it’s WWI, WWII or even a current one who is thinking of home.”
Apart from the physical relics, Walterschied continues to tell his grandfather’s war stories, which were documented near the end of Wilson’s battle with Parkinson’s disease.
“About half a mile away from where my grandfather took his morning walk was a funeral home and he became friends with the funeral home director,” Walterschied said. “He would tell him stories and the director would write notes about what was said.”
Walterschied inherited the manuscript from the director and combined his grandfather’s stories with research to create a retelling of Wilson’s time in the Great War.
Walterschied said he hopes people appreciate the artifacts Wilson has passed down, and said he plans to leave them on loan at the museum until the end of the year.
“It’s something that most people would never get to see, and I was just lucky to have it fall in my lap,” Walterschied said.
Biomedical sciences freshman John Villarreal said seeing the exhibit in person was a meaningful experience for him.
“Texas A&M is known for its long-standing traditions and the fact that we still use the War Hymn after 100 years is a real testament to that and part of why I love this school,” Villareal said.
The 100-year anniversary of the War Hymn will be commemorated at the Texas A&M/Ole Miss game on Saturday. Walterschied and other relatives will be in attendance.

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  • An early copy of the Aggie War Hymn on sheet music is displayed at the Museum of the American G.I. along with Pinky Wilson’s AMC brass.

    Photo by Photo by Olivia Treadwell

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