Photo by Isabel Thalken/Nebraska Communications

100 Years Later, Roscoe Rhodes Tops Elevated Veterans

By Randy York

It has taken a century to elevate a Nebraska native and Husker football captain to move to the head of the pack and get the recognition he so richly deserves.

 Rosco Dusty Rhodes was so popular among his coaches and teammates that they voted him to be their football captain in 1917 for the 1918 season.

Rhodes, a native of Ansley Neb., died 100 years ago while serving his country. The tragedy prompted a significant number of University of Nebraska students to suggest that the football stadium honor Rhodes’ name.

That did not happen.

Instead, five years later, on Oct. 20, 1923, the University honored all native Nebraskans who served in our nation’s wars by naming the stadium – Memorial Stadium.

“Memorial Stadium” enabled University of Nebraska administrators and students to honor all statewide veterans using these original words that were inscribed in the Northeast corner of Memorial Stadium five years later:

THEIR LIVES THEY HELD

THEIR COUNTRY’S TRUST;

THEY KEPT ITS FAITH;

THEY DIED ITS HEROES.

Roscoe B. Rhodes left Nebraska in April of 1918 to enlist in the Army. On the first day of May, he went to camp as a sergeant. He joined a division that was ready to leave overseas and was in France within a month after he enlisted.

Six months later, on Nov. 27th, 1918, a telegram was received saying that “Dusty” had been killed in action on Oct. 25th.

The late Roscoe Rhodes is one of 59,287 Nebraska men and women who served in the Armed Forces during World War I, and Saturday is a perfect time to elevate Dusty’s inspirational decision to defend his country.

Celebrating the 100th Anniversary with an Armistice Day Display Dedication goes beyond Saturday’s annual Veteran’s Day and Military Salute inside Memorial Stadium.

This weekend, Nebraska is hosting a celebration in honor of the 100th Anniversary with three University leaders – Hank Bounds, President of the University of Nebraska; Ronnie D. Green, UNL Chancellor; and Bill Moos, UNL Athletic Director, will dedicate three plaques that will hang in Nebraska Athletics’ East Stadium Gate 20 entrance to capitalize on a distinctive opportunity to honor Nebraska’s 100th Anniversary.

The first plaque honors the men and women from Nebraska who served in the Armed Forces during World War I on April 6, 1917, to November 11, 1918.

It also focuses on John J. Pershing, the General of the Armies and the only officer to receive that promotion, the highest rank possible while living. A graduate of the University of Nebraska’s Bachelor of Law program. General Pershing played a major role in all of America’s military campaigns between 1886 and 1945.

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, a second plaque honors more than 113 Nebraska students and alumni who served our country.

Ten Husker student-athletes served in World War I, including five football letterwinners:
John Graham Cook (1915-16-17, QB, Beatrice, NE)
Paul Halbersleben (1915, C, Lincoln, NE)
William Henry Hayward (1894-97, T)
Harold Edwin McGlasson (1919-21, QB, Lincoln, NE)
Roscoe Bryan Rhodes (1916-17, E, Creighton, NE)

Three track and field student-athletes served in World War I:
James Howard Boggs (1912-13)
William Lloyd Davis (1905-08)
George Worthington; Irwin (1914-15-16)

One men’s tennis letterwinner: Harry Hiram Ellis (1916) and one baseball letterwinner: Morris Nathan Liebmann (1898) also served.

Today we celebrate all Nebraskans who served in our nation’s wars and are proud to give Husker fans the opportunity to reflect and remember, every time they enter Memorial Stadium. 

Send a comment to ryork@huskers.com (Please include city, state)

Follow Randy on Twitter at www.twitter.com/RandyYorkNsider 

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