Monday, November 10, 2008

Duke this Veteran’s Day Eve

This Veteran’s Day Eve The Chronicle published the following letter - - -

A year ago on Veteran's Day, and again six months ago on Memorial Day, we joined in pointing out the University's disrespect of our classmates who served in the Armed Forces, and most particularly those who died for our nation.

We called attention to delinquency at the alumni memorial, where for more than 50 years-through wars in Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan-the University has failed to add the name of anyone who made the supreme sacrifice.

We also pointed out that two additions to the Divinity School were built as close to Duke Chapel as the architect dared, encroaching upon the memorial, leaving it in an air shaft.

We cited lack of patriotic observance on holidays. It is rather incongruous that on Sept. 11, the Alumni Department laid a wreath at the memorial that marks the deaths of six Dukies who happened to be in the World Trade Center, but for Veteran's Day, as always, the University calendar is devoid of any honor for our classmates-as well as faculty and staff-who deliberately went into harm's way.

President Richard Brodhead, Executive Vice President Tallman Trask, Vice President Michael Schoenfeld and Alumni Executive Director Sterly Wilder were given personal notice of this neglect, yet not one of them has had any substantive response to us in a full year. As surely as our classmates in uniform answered the call of duty with bravery, courage and valor, Duke's administrators uniformly bring dishonor to themselves by their dereliction.

Ed Rickards
Trinity '63
Law '66

Kristin Butler
Trinity '08

I posted on both columns Rickards and Butler reference in their letter.

Duke ignores its brave defenders (Nov. 6, 2007)

Chronicle includes an important and beautifully written column by Duke senior Kristin Butler.

She begins:

When the rest of the country pauses to honor America's military personnel (both living and dead) next Monday, Duke University won't join in. There will be no on-campus remembrances a la 9/11 or Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Classes will proceed as normal. Even our University calendar-which advertises activities like an open house tour for the Home Depot Smart Home Nov. 12-makes no mention of the occasion. …

The rest of the post which includes a link to Kristin’s column is here.

Here's the full text of the post:
Duke classmate remembers an eternal friend (May 26, 2008)

Ed Rickards (T. '63 and Law '66) in a Chronicle Memorial Day column co-authored with Kristin Butler (T. ’08) remembers an “eternal friend:

...The Vietnam War took a classmate, next door neighbor in the dorms and eternal friend.

Charles G. Mason '64, known as Buddy, was in Naval ROTC at Duke; he wore his uniform with pride at a time when many were growing wary of the military.

At graduation he received a commission in the Marine Corps and was sent to the city of Hue in Vietnam. It's hard to fathom Buddy amid the insane violence of war, transported from the grace of our campus to slogging in a jungle.

February 24, 1967. Fellow Marines in nearby Phu Bai village were pinned down by withering fire, taking heavy casualties. The weather hampered the flow of reinforcements and ammo, but First Lieutenant Mason tried to break through in a Medivac helicopter.

To rescue the wounded. To retrieve the dead.

His copter took bullets in the fuselage, burst into flames and fell to earth in pieces. His remains are now at Arlington National Cemetery.

Buddy Mason's survivors included his wife Lynelle and their 22-month-old daughter Lois. Six months after Buddy's death, his wife gave birth to his son Charles. ...
An epitaph honoring WW II allies who made the supreme sacrifice also poignantly expresses the debt Americans owe U.S.M.C 1st. Lt. Charles G. Mason (T.'64) and his fallen comrades:
"When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today"
The entire Rickards-Butler column can be accessed here.

Most of us in the Duke community will want to thank Rickards and Butler for reminding us of the military service and sacrifices of others in the Duke community.

Sometime in the not too distant future President Brodhead ought to send a letter to the entire Duke community. He should explain why the university does so little to honor all those from the Duke community who are serving in the military or have served as well as their families who supported them and who, in some cases, carry the pain of a loved lost giving the last full measure of devotion.


Anonymous said...

Being a donor to Duke athletics, I asked what were the possibilities of having the Soccer/Lacrosse field at Koskinen Stadium named Jimmy Regan field. I was told emphatically not, the only athletic " field" was name after the current basketball coach and they were not going to start setting precedents they didn't wish to continue. It wasnot a matter of contribution level, all the giving levels had been met, it was something Duke University had no interest in doing.