Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Veteran's Day Reflection

Veteran’s Day 2010


Today I am in New York City. I plan to visit some CMH alumni, attend an event for American Association of the Knights of Malta, and hopefully, visit Ground Zero to see the progress there. Both my parents are originally New Yorkers and coming here reminds me that, sadly, most of my visits in recent years have been for funerals of aunts and uncles. Today being Veterans Day gives me another lens through which to look at my own family, and to look at the foundation of CMH.

My late father was the only son in his family – he served in the U.S. Navy in Korea. He enlisted with a good friend “from the neighborhood”, my uncle Tom Prunty. My Uncle Tom and all eight of my mom’s brothers served in the period from WWII through the Korean War. I have one uncle remaining and, as a veteran, he insists that when the time comes he be buried in a military cemetery with proper honors.

Everyone who served knows that to lay in perpetuity alongside other veterans represents a unity with all who have sacrificed for our American ideals. The rows of white stones stand individually as monuments for each man or woman who served. Those same stones stand collectively as a singular memorial which reminds all of us of the priorities we should have in life.

This year, before every football game, as part of a prayer, team chaplain Fr. Sean O’Connell shares with the student-athletes a short bio of one of the 23 + 6 men in whose honor CMH was founded. It is notable that for many of these men there was never a funeral nor is there any stone marker. For some, the only monument that their lives and sacrifices will ever have will be the memories of family and Catholic Memorial High School.

Individually and collectively, our CMH students in their accomplishments and their sacrificial Christian service (Caritas in Omnibus), are a living memorial to these men, and so many other men and women like them. On this Veterans Day, I pray that everyone connected to the CMH family will take this responsibility to be a living memorial very, very seriously. I know that in staying committed to this mission, we will continue to accomplish great things as a school.

Special prayers and blessings go out to all the veterans in our community.

Our Lady of Memorial, pray for us.

Very Reverend Paul Hartmann

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Father Paul, your words were inspirational. Having served in the U.S. Army for 23 years, I'm very familiar with the sacrifices our military veterans have made for their country. As a graduate from CHMS, I'm very proud our school was a memorial to those services members from the Waukesha area who gave the ultimate sacrifice to their country.