Veterans Day is when those who’ve served in the U.S. military are celebrated, and retired Brig. Gen. Ed Hall makes it a full day.
He’s often invited to a local elementary school’s celebration. Then, he meets fellow American Legion members at Post 28 in Duncan Park before enjoying a free Veterans Day lunch at Applebee’s on Spartanburg’s east side. The city’s Veterans Day parade follows. Some years, he and others have been known to later visit the west side Applebee’s for another free meal.
“That pretty well fills up the day,” says Hall, who was a military science professor at Wofford from 1967 to 1970.
Hall, however, is never too far removed from thinking about those men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military, including the 102 Wofford students and graduates who died in service since World War I.
He’s worked with others over the years to develop a commemorative brick walkway outside of American Legion Post 28 to honor and memorialize living and deceased veterans from Spartanburg County. He worked with the college’s ROTC program to include information involving Wofford’s fallen. Hall and a small group, including Bill Tinder ’60, retired U.S. Army Col. Jack Kaplan ’69 and Trustee Emeritus Harold Chandler ’71, are exploring opportunities to establish an outdoor memorial on Wofford’s campus.
He has hopes that it’ll be a place to gather and remember on Veterans Day. Memorial Day is the designated holiday to remember those who died in service, but Hall knows the campus community is often dispersed for summer vacation by then, and he finds it appropriate to make sure those men and women are part of Veterans Day ceremonies.
“I’m a retired combat veteran and had personal friends killed,” Hall says. “I was with some when they were killed. They were young and lost their lives. I married, had children and grandchildren, and they lost all of that.”
Dr. Phillip Stone, Wofford’s archivist, has worked with Hall on a few projects over the years and has witnessed Hall’s dedication.
“His lifelong military service no doubt gives him a sense of responsibility to preserve the memory of others who have served in the armed forces, and his work to prepare Wofford students for service in the Army has tied him closely to the college,” Stone says. “I know that he has worked for years on the project to remember Wofford alumni who have died in the service of our country.”
After retiring from the U.S. Army in 1980, Hall returned to Wofford to work as the assistant director of Wofford’s physical plant for 22 years before retiring in 2004.
Hall said Post 28 is a very active American Legion chapter. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, it averaged more than 100 people at monthly meetings. The post has 678 active members, including a few Wofford graduates who studied under Hall. He’s at the post most days.
He’s the curator of the post’s museum and its library, which has more than 2,500 volumes. The museum is open to the public.
Post 28 supports local veterans needing assistance, accommodates school visits to its museum and library, sponsors high school students participating in Palmetto Boys’ State and Palmetto Girls’ State, and the Post 28 American Legion baseball team during the summer months. Another service is a team of volunteers who provide military funeral rites whenever a family makes a request.
“We do it because we want to do it, and we’re honored to do it,” Hall says.