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Honoring classmates who have passed away since their graduation from the College, members of the Class of 1945 attended a memorial service at Memorial Church yesterday morning.
The service, attended by about 400 alumni and their guests, began with Bach's "Prelude & Fugue in A Minor" and a greeting given by Reverend Charles E. Carlston '45.
During the service, the congregation sang the hymns "Our God, Our Help in Ages Past," "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind" and "My Country, 'Tis of Thee." The Commencement Choir sang Bach's "Dona Nobis Pacem" and Thompson's "Alleluia. "
James W. Perkins '45 delivered a homily entitled "Death, Where is Thy Sting?"
"There's a topic we often avoid, and that topic is death," Perkins said at the beginning of his address.
Urging those attending the service to "care for those beyond our local sphere" by performing public service, Perkins said he and his classmates could "conquer death by reaching beyond ourselves."
"I would suggest that those before us have in a sense overcome death, and that we who are now at the evening of life may understand the eternity is here and now," he said.
"We conquer death by upholding values we are willing to die for," Perkins added.
Perkins said he and his class mates should not fear death.
"We need not rage, rage against the dying of the light, we may indeed go gentle into that good night," Perkins said, alluding to a Dylan Thomas Poem.
Following Perkins' homily, Alfred F. Kennedy '45 and Donald C. Van Roosen '45 read the names of classmates who had died in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
The reading was followed by a tolling of the Church bells and a moment of silence during which the congregation silently read a list of those who had passed away.
Following the Service, many members of the Class of 1945 wiped tears from their eyes.
"I thought it was beautiful," said Judy Bartholomay '45. "This whole week has brought back memories, visiting places we've been 50 years ago."
"It was the kind of service I liked, with good hymns and terrific music," said Hugh D. Calkins '45, former president of The Crimson.
"It was very touching," said Richard "Snuffy" Howe '45. "Many Memories of old friends. It is an important thing that we all have to go through."
Perkins concluded with a prayer: "O Lord, support us all the day long until the evening ...comes, When the fever of life is over, and our work is done, then in Thy name, grant us a safe lodging and a holy rest and peace at the last. Amen."
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