The entire McDonogh community gathered in Lamborn Memorial Field House on a rainy Thursday, May 25, for the school’s annual observance of Memorial Day. It was an opportunity to remember and honor McDonogh alumni who lost their lives in service to our country. The solemn ceremony was punctuated by music performed by the Lower School Bell Choir, the Upper School String Ensemble, and the Lower School Concert Choir.
After the invocation, Director of Character and Service Bridget Collins '90 used the occasion to preserve the memory of H. Mervin Fisher, Class of 1904. She chose Fisher because this year marks the 100th anniversary of the United States' entrance into World War I. She explained, "World War I was the first war in which McDonogh boys were killed in action. As a veteran of the Civil War, the Headmaster at the time, Duncan Campbell Lyle knew well the pain and struggle that war cost. His fear, worry, and compassion could be felt through the pages of his diary and countless letters he wrote to his students in the trenches in France and to their families at home." Read his story here.
The ceremony continued with the Lower School Choir, accompanied by Jacob R. '20, singing When the Angels Call Me Home. Then, in a recently adopted tradition, The McDonogh Uniform, by Eustace Glascock, Class of 1879 was read by McDonogh alumnus Butch Maisel '72 and student representatives from the each division of the school (Amrita S. '18, Luke A. '21, and Brooke G. '25).
Headmaster Charlie Britton repeated a stanza from the poem in his remarks, which paid tribute to retired Major General Joseph P. Franklin, a member of the Class of 1951, who died in March. He explained that Franklin was instrumental in the effort to refurbish and rededicate Memorial Court and noted that his Army blue dress uniform hangs in the lobby of the field house.
Britton said, "Throughout his lifetime, whether in his McDonogh uniform or that of the United States Army, Joe Franklin embodied the words found in Eustace Glascock’s poem that we just heard: Our trade-mark is woven into every suit. 'Tis a vow that each wearer must make, How low or how high in the world he may be, ‘We Give Something More Than We Take.'"
At the end of the service, Alumni Association President Emily Clark '90 and rising Senior Class President Cormac C. carried a ceremonial wreath from the field house and placed it in front of the monument on Memorial Court. After Michael B. '19 played Taps, the benediction was introduced by Jack O. '18 and the student body dismissed in silence.
Throughout the rest of the day, students and guests visited the Rogers Lobby in the Edward St. John Student Center, where military historian Butch Maisel '72 displayed World War II artifacts representing the time period of H. Mervin Fisher's service.