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Rick Wills ’71
Bascom Hill, 1968

The University of Wisconsin campus was wracked with civil unrest during the Vietnam War era, when students voiced their opposition to the authorities at anti-war marches and rallies. The perfect rows of white crosses you mentioned were part of a 1968 protest. That March, some 60 students worked for two days to make 435 crosses, then planted them in the grass on Bascom Hill. They also mounted a sign that read, “Bascom Memorial Cemetery, Class of 1968,” and chanted to passers-by, “Pray for the dead and the dead will pray for you.” Because the protesters were peaceful, the UW administration allowed the display to remain on Bascom Hill all day, but the crosses were removed the following morning.

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