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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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Class of 1969 honors Landis Cervenka’s legacy

The+Quad
Photo by Photo by Meredith Seaver
The Quad

This Veterans Day, classmates of Landis Cervenka, Class of 1969, gathered in front of the Jack K. Williams Administration Building at 3 p.m. to honor his service for his country and to Texas A&M.
Cervenka is credited with creating two of A&M’s most recognizable memorials, the Corps Plaza, and the Avenue of Flags. Cervenka was only a junior when the idea for the Corps Plaza came to be. The inspiration for this A&M landmark sparked when he was assigned a market research project in his 400-level marketing class. He wanted to create a memorial that honored all the lives lost during World War II.
Classmate Bill Howell, Class of 1969, said Cervenka’s efforts in creating the Corps Plaza does not go unnoticed.
“That Corps Plaza memorial is remarkable,” Howell said. “He saw clearly that there needed to be a way to remember the service and sacrifice that was made. Given all these years now to look back on it and say, ‘Wow that was really something that was done and would not be here if it were not for Landis Cervenka.’”
During his presentation for the approval of the Corps Plaza, former A&M President Gen. James Earl Rudder encouraged him to create another memorial, which came to be known as the Avenue of Flags, Cervenka said.
“I was invited to come over on the Friday before dead week,” Cervenka said. “I went in there and we talked, and I showed him the blueprint. He was completely enhanced with the memorial of it. When we had concluded that, he grabbed me and said, ‘Lieutenant, come with me,’ so I walked over, and he said, ‘I want you to beautify that [Eastgate].’”
With only four days to spark up an idea for a memorial, Cervenka said he hurried to create something meaningful.
“All of a sudden I got this idea: What if we put one flag for each state to represent the county united and all the students who come here?” Cervenka said. “When I presented that to him on [that] Friday at 4 p.m, he picked up the blueprints and put it under his arm and ran out of the conference room, and that was the last I ever saw of him.”
Howell said the contributions Cervenka has made to A&M have deeply impacted his fellow classmates.
“Being able to remember people who have made an ultimate sacrifice in service of their country, for any of us veterans, that is a big deal,” Howell said. “Being able to put things that call you to remember what’s important really sunk home for me personally and for our class.”
Cervenka was not only honored for his creation of the Corps Plaza and the Avenue of Flags, but also for his service fighting in the Vietnam War. Howell said Cervenka’s will never forget his service for the country.
“During his service he was injured, a rocket exploded close to him and he was thrown up against a large truck and injured his back,” Howell said. “Landis is one of those people whose service in the military is what he wanted to do above all.”
Organizer of the event Richard Poling, Class of 1969, said the idea to honor Cervenka was simple, due to what his efforts during the war meant to the entire class.
“It had been 50 years and I told a couple of classmates, ‘Here’s a couple of hundred dollars, I think we need to honor Landis,’” Poling said.
Additionally, Poling said he could not have imagined a better day to honor such a close friend.
“I did not expect such a turnout,” Poling said. “It’s his day and his glory, he’s worth it.”

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