BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — LSU has created a new place on campus for former students who have served in the military to be remembered. LSU has a rich military history, and now on the bottom floor of Memorial Tower, there is a brand new exhibit honoring veterans and their close ties to the school in the LSU Military Museum.
Jim Rathmann, a former national championship football player and veteran, got to see his part of the exhibit for the first time. He was a Captain in the U.S. Army and served in the War on Terror following the 9/11 attacks. After serving from 1999-2003, he played two seasons with the Tigers in 2003 and 2004. He returned to the military in 2009-2010.
“After already had serving in the military, have already been a part of the war on terrorism, to come here and play football on a national championship team under the legendary coach Nick Saban,” Rathmann said. “You know, the friendships that I built with some of the players I still talk with today.”
Rathmann said seeing his exhibit and having his military service honored at his school is one of the greatest honors. He hopes to spread the word of the museum to bring more people into its doors.
The museum started as a place to remember soldiers lost in the First World War. Now with the latest expansion, it covers all the wars up to the present day since the school’s founding.
“We have lost at least one generation, maybe two, of people who have not been educated about LSU’s military history, which is very rich. I mean, we will rival the military history of the academies,” said Randy Gurie, Executive Director of Cadets of the Ole War Skule.
LSU has been tracking down former students to learn their stories from their service to share them with the public. The $14 million project has been in the works for years and is nearly complete.
“I mean, it is now, but it will continue to be the showplace of the university for years to come,” Gurie said.
Displays will be rotated every few months so more stories can be shared as the museum grows. The exhibit will be open to the public starting in the new year, and they’ll have a grand opening in April.