Saturday, April 08, 2006

Marist Memorial

My high school was Marist College. I graduated in 1963: first class out of the new campus on Ashford-Dunwoody Road in northwest Atlanta. It was a military boys’ school, those days. Everyone was in the Corps of Cadets. I remember marching down Peachtree Street in parades – I don’t think I was a very good Lieutenant.

After college, some of us joined one of the armed services….and went to Viet Nam. Four of my classmates didn’t come back.

This past week, Marist School conducted a Military Memorial Service honoring “alumni who were killed while serving our country, missing in action, or prisoners of war.” On the memorial list, there are the names of 45 Marist graduates who lost their lives in the service dating back to World War I, starting with members of the Classes of ’04 and ’08.

Lauran Lightmas, Marist’s Alumni Director, was kind enough to send these ‘graphs about the Military Memorial Service to me.

The day truly was wonderful. The weather was beautiful and we had a great gathering of alumni, past parents, students, and families of those being honored. We gathered for Mass in the chapel where Edgar Livingston (alum and brother of honoree), Tim Keiley (alum and nephew of honoree), Col. Mick Maguire (alum and veteran), Phil Coletti (son of honoree), and Norma Nicholson (wife of Tony Nicholson, 1st cousin of honoree) all participated in different capacities.

After Mass, our crowd walked down to the Marist School Circle, where our dedication ceremony began right on time at 11:30. Fr. Egan (President of Marist School) welcomed the crowd, Marist School Eagle Scouts posted the colors, then Richard Reynolds (our Marist School Historian) gave a fitting introduction to our speaker, Frank Murphy '39 (Mr. Murphy's speech is attached). Mr. Murphy was a POW for nineteen months and he gave a wonderful speech.

After speaking, he unveiled the memorial for the crowd. He read each of the names listed on its face and moved many in our crowd to tears. The ceremony concluded with "Taps" on the bugle, a blessing of the memorial by Fr. Egan and a lunch blessing by Fr. Konzen (Principal of Marist School). The crowd then gathered under the arcade for lunch.

It was our pleasure at Marist to honor those alumni who gave such sacrifices to our country, as well as to pay tribute to Marist School's long and proud military history. It would have been impossible to put all of the day's events together without the commitment of our Marist School Military Service Memorial Committee, Richard Reynolds, Frank Murphy, Michael Walsh, Jim Boyd, and Joe Bruckner.

I didn’t make the trip. I sent flowers for the service in the Chapel, inscribed to my missing classmates: Tommy Biddulph, Richard Fox, Bill Gay and Richard Sutter.

I remember you. Richard Laurence Baron, ’63, USN.

Photo: Marist School, Atlanta, GA

1 comment:

Lauran Lightmas said...

Mr. Baron,

The flowers that you sent for the Memorial Dedication were beautiful and looked perfect in the chapel. Thanks very much for sending them and for think of your classmates on this special day.