AUSTIN, Texas—From the crack of World War I rifles to the roar of modern-day F-15 jet planes, UT Austin will salute the veterans to whom Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium is dedicated in ceremonies at the Texas-Texas A&M football game on Nov. 24.
The main focus of the recognition will be the new Louis Jordan flagpole, a re-creation of the original flagpole that was dedicated to the memory of one of the University’s greatest legends when the stadium was built in 1924.
Jordan, a three-sport athlete who was captain of the 1914 team, was the first Texas officer killed in World War I, and is considered the greatest Longhorn player of the early era of Texas football.
The popular engineering graduate was killed by an artillery shell in the Luneville Sector of France on March 5, 1918. When Texas Memorial Stadium was originally dedicated in 1924, the residents of Jordan’s hometown of Fredericksburg donated a flagpole to the University to be placed in the stadium in Jordan’s memory.
The single pole stood at the south end of the stadium until the construction of the Steinmark Scoreboard in 1972.
A veterans committee, appointed by the University president and headed by World War II hero and Austin attorney Frank Denius, recommended the re-establishment of the Jordan memorial.
Also featured in this year’s recognition will be relocation of the original plaques dedicated to World War I dead from each of the Southwest Conference schools of the era.
A new addition to the main gate at the north end of the stadium will be recognition plaques saluting those who served in all wars and conflicts in which U.S. Armed Forces have been involved since World War I.
Through the cooperation of Jeff Hunt, curator of the Nimitz World War II Museum in Fredericksburg, the stadium grounds will take on an historic look on game day. Vehicles, including those from World War I and World War II, will be available for viewing on the northwest corner of the stadium grounds, and a special exhibit honoring Jordan will be on display inside Bellmont Hall, the building that is part of the west side of the stadium.
Jordan’s 1914 letter sweater, part of his World War I uniform and his shrapnel-pierced diary will be on display.
A new flagpole, with the original marker, will be located in the southeast corner of the stadium and will feature a 48-star World War I era flag, donated by Hunt and the Nimitz Museum.
In the pre-game ceremonies, the honor guard will be in original World War I uniforms. When the students of the current UT ROTC presents the colors, the honor guard will fire a 21-gun salute, followed by a lone trumpeter from the Longhorn Band’s offering of “Taps.”
Descendants of Jordan’s family will lay a wreath at the base of the flagpole, and as the Longhorn Band plays the National Anthem, a four-ship F-15 Eagle flyover will pass over the stadium. Capt. Steve Burgh of Austin will lead the F-15 formation. Burgh and the accompanying crewmembers are assigned to the 95th Fighter Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida.
Jordan was the best and most colorful and popular student athlete in his era at Texas. He was the first Longhorn ever named to an all-American team, and was an honor student in engineering.
He was the only athlete included in the original four members chosen for the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1957.
The permanent recognitions of the veterans are part of the continuing refurbishing of the stadium. Remodeling began in 1996, and it coincided with the including of legendary Longhorn coach Darrell Royal in the official stadium name.
A veteran’s committee was established at the time to recommend ways to honor the servicemen, and long range plans include a plaza or park on the stadium grounds that will pay further tribute to them.