UPDATED: November 14, 2017 at 2:31 p.m.
Harvard commemorated its military service members, both living and deceased, with a Veterans Day Ceremony held in Memorial Church on Saturday morning.
University President Drew G. Faust and dozens of Harvard alumni, students, and Reserve Officers’ Training Corps members attended the ceremony. It was organized by the Harvard Veterans Alumni Organization and featured speakers from several branches of the military.
The ceremony also included the dedication of a plaque recognizing four lieutenants for their service during World War II: George L. Fox, Alexander D. Goode, John P. Washington, and Clark V. Poling, all graduates of Harvard’s Army Chaplain School, a short program that prepared ordained ministers to work for the army.
The four chaplains were stationed on a vessel that was struck by a German U-boat on Feb. 3, 1943. The four men gave up their own lifejackets, offering prayers and assistance as their fellow sailors evacuated the sinking ship, according to a speech prepared for the event by Tom Reardon ’68. All four died when the ship went under.
Because the men did not meet the exact qualifications for the Medal of Honor, Reardon said in his speech, an equivalent award—called the Four Chaplains Medal—was created specifically for the men.
In addition to the dedication of the plaque, the ceremony featured a performance by Sydney T. S. Mukasa ’18, who sang “Dirge for Two Veterans,” as well as a reading of John McCrae’s poem “In Flanders Fields” by Army veteran and Alumnus of the Business and Kennedy Schools Dan Fisher.
Harvard ROTC member Phillip M. Ramirez ’18, an inactive Crimson editor, said that he thinks it is important to celebrate Veterans Day.
“It’s really important to remember Harvard’s long legacy of service, especially now that ROTC is kind of rebuilding itself after having not been on campus for a little while,” Ramirez said.
Harvard’s ROTC program returned in 2011 after almost 40 years off campus.
Since ROTC returned to campus, the Harvard Veterans Alumni Organization has been working to admit more veterans to Harvard College. Later in the ceremony, a new initiative designed to accomplish this goal was unveiled: Harvard is entering into a partnership called “Vetlink” with Service to Schools, a non-profit that provides college application assistance to veterans.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
CORRECTION: November 14, 2017
A previous version of this article misattributed several quotations to Arnold E. Resnicoff. Those quotations and the attributions have been removed from the article.
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