1. UPDATED article (with new information & new photos): CNC Commencement Exercises, 1963 –1970: Programs, Photos, and Facts.
2. NEWarticle: More 50th Reunion Photos: Class of 1968.
3. 50th Reunion of the Class of 1968: May 11 & 12, 2018.
4. Revisiting Ric Bahr:A Memorial Day Remembrance, by Wade Williams.
5.The Memorial Day Poppy: A Tradition Born from a Poem.
6. NEW Feedback.
7. NEW cartoons: Honoring Fathers.
The Journey is the reward.
Why did the man run around his bed?
Answer shown at the bottom of this page
FIRST DECADE HISTORY
CNC Commencement Exercises, 1963 –1970:
Programs, Photos, and Facts
by A. Jane Chambers
Commencement 1965 in the Lecture Room of Newport Hall. Far left:Jim Windsor (dark suit) and Scotty Cunningham (back to camera). DEGREE RECIPIENTS (standing, not all visible) are in reverse alphabetical order and identified from right (aisle) to left. First row (R-L):Tom Witty, Ellen Wirt, next probablyCharles E. Watkins, Jr., Gayle Stanley (now Walters), next probablyFred Smallwood, deceased, & Pat Shaughnessy (now Morrell).Second row (R-L):Gwen Seidler (Stevens, deceased), Jennifer Riley (now Watson), Jean Regone (now Henry), then probablyDavid Rabinowitz], next probablyAlexander Phillips, deceased, and Ray Pepe (with glasses).Third row (R-L): PattyMoore (nowSchwarzman), Ed Mirmelstein, Glenn Lawson, next probably Sally Krym (now Dafashy), then hidden people (probablyPat Hemeter, now Spriggs, & Jack Harrison, Robert Gray, then probablyKathie Scott Fitzgerald, & (half-hidden, with glasses & at curtain, Ben Ellis. Fourth row:Behind Patty Moore is (quite likely) Irene Christofi (now Leopold), then (probably) Rick Bennett & John Bane. Photo from Christopher Newport University, by Sean M. Heuvel (Arcadia, 2009), p. 23.
The first (June 6, 1963) and second (June 4, 1964) formal* Christopher Newport College commencement exercises were held in the third floor auditorium of the old Daniel School building on 32nd Street in downtown Newport News, which served as the temporary home of the young College, then a two-year branch of The College of William and Mary. Until 1971, CNC offered only the Associate in Arts degree. The small number of degree recipients shown on these programs from 1963 – 1970 was in part a consequence of there being no requirement to have a 2-year degree to transfer from CNC to William and Mary or any other state college and in part a reflection of the College’s high academic standards, equal to those of William and Mary.
The class of 1964 was the first for which we have a photo of its commencement, held in the auditorium on the third floor of the Daniel school building. Judge Forrest B. Wall is shown giving the commencement address. Some of the graduates are visible in the front, the young ladies in white dresses and the young men in suits. So far I have not been able to identify any of them. Photo from Christopher Newport University, by Sean M. Heuvel (Arcadia, 2009), p. 22.
These first two Commencement Exercises are courtesy of First Decader couple Claude and Karen Graeb Stanley (Classes of, respectively, 1963 and 1964). The 1963 program is unique not only in being the first, but also in marking a major event. Local artist Allan D. Jones, Jr. had recently been commissioned by the City of Newport News to create a mural in the West Avenue Library depicting the Jamestown Landing of 1607. The central figure in this mural was tobe, of course, Captain Christopher Newport, leader of that expedition. During Commencement 1963, a black and white ink drawing of Captain Newport—a “cartoon” (meaning “sketch”)—was presented to CNC. This ink drawing by Allan Jones was displayed there for decades, but like many other early CNC historical items, it has since disappeared. However, beginning with the first issue of the first Captain’s Log(Nov. 7, 1963), this sketch of Captain Newport, hook on his right arm, was included in the masthead of the student newspaper for decades. In 1970, it was also the model for the College’s second seal and original four-year ring, both designed by student Kenneth Flick (B.A., 1972).
The Class of 1965 was the first to have its commencement on the Shoe Lane Campus, in the Lecture Room of Christopher Newport Hall, the first building on the campus. This class was also the first Shoe Lane class for which we have a photo (above, top) of its commencement. As usual, James C. Windsor, by then Dean of Students, presented the degree candidates and Director H. Westcott (Scotty) Cunningham awarded the degrees. The reception was in the Arcade, the open-air, roof-covered area connecting the main part of Newport Hall with the Lecture Room and, across from it, the room then housing the Library. Commencement for the 1966 class was also in Newport’s Lecture Room, but the reception was held in Gosnold Hall, CNC’s second building, in the Student Lounge directly across from Gosnold’s Lecture Room, identical to Newport’s. The Class of 1966 was also the first to have musical entertainment, provided by the College Choir. The above programs were provided by Robert W. Gray (1965) and Charles Snead (1966).
NOTE: Beginning at least with 1965, there were August Commencementsalso, and at some later point, Winter Commencements as well. However, to date, Commencement Exercises for these have not been located. If you can help provide any programs from these, please contact our website.
The 1967 commencement (program above, provided by Jane Briggs Matney) was also held in Newport’s Lecture Room. This class was the first to have a processional and recessional, with the CNC Choir providing the music. That year and the next two, the College’s first Dean of the Faculty, W. Stephen Sanderlin, Jr., presented the degree candidates rather than Dean James C. Windsor, and more high profile people served as commencement speakers—for example, Parke S. Rouse, Jr., Director of the Jamestown Foundation, in 1967, and William and Mary’s President Davis Y. Paschall in 1968. Commencement 1968 (program above provided by Nelson D. Baer) was the first graduation ceremony held inside the recently completed Ratcliffe Gymnasium, with the Tactical Air Command Band from Langley Air Force Base providing music for the processional, recessional, and a musical interlude. This commencement was followed by a dedication of the recently completed Captain John Smith Library and a presentation to the library of a portrait of Director Cunningham, followed by a reception in the library (see below article).
The above Daily Press article, with two photos, is from Saturday morning, JUNE 8, 1968, and fully describes both the previous (June 7) Friday afternoon commencement exercises at CNC and the following dedication of the recently opened Captain John Smith Library, which also included presentation to the library of an oil painting of H. Westcott Cunningham. Vera Knez England recently found this article inside her 1968 Trident yearbook. We are delighted to add it to our collection of CNC memorabilia.
A first for members of the Degree Class of 1969 was having their diplomas handed to them by Davis Y. Paschall, President of William and Mary, rather than by Scotty Cunningham. Also reflected in this program (provided by Susan Wood Frith) is Cunningham’s recent promotion by William and Mary to Provost of CNC rather than Director. The speaker this June was another important person in CNC’s history, John H. (Jack) Willis, Jr., Assistant Vice President at William and Mary and that college’s liaison to CNC. The Reception was again, as in 1968, in Smith Library. The Degree Class of 1970 (program provided by Tim Hester) was the last to graduate under the leadership of H. Westcott Cunningham, who recently had been promoted to President of our College. This class was also the first to be presented for degrees by CNC’s second Dean of the Faculty, H. Marshall Booker. Note that the Reception was held in the recently opened Wingfield Hall, the third classroom building on campus. Six in this class were at the junior level when awarded the 2-year degree and completed the 4-year degree at CNC in 1971—Martha Gustin, Tim Hester, "Mac" McGlaun, Ronald Mitchell, Martha Muguira (now deceased), and Cheryl Wolfe.
A new era began with Commencement 1971, to be the subject of another website article. Stay tuned!
*CNC's first A.A. degree was awarded to Lois Wright on June 8, 1962, in an private service in the Office of Director Cunningham, with Lois’s parents present. Lois was one of 13 students who enrolled the opening year, September 1961, as sophomores and the only one to earn the degree. See her interesting essay “The Graduating Class of One” in Memories of Christopher Newport College: The First Decade, pages 182-185.
This group photo in the Alumni House includes the three former faculty who attended. Shown are (L-R) Linda McKenna Sivilich, Don Thomas, Jan Giguere Clarke, Donna Lass Carter, Vera Knez England (holding the sign), A. Jane Chambers (professor of English), Wade Williams, Nelson Baer, David Scoggins, Raoul Weinstein (instructor of math & 1st track coach), and Bev Vaughan (assistant professor of men's physical education & 1st basketball coach).
CNU President Paul Trible and wife Rosemary visited during the cocktail hour. In the above photo ((L-R) Rosemary Trible poses in the Alumni House Library with the two gentlemen who were providing musical entertainment for us during the cocktail hour--Ron Lowder and baritone Steven Field (CNU '16). First Decader Ron, who is also this website's webmaster, is a professional musician who played both piano and sax during that hour and Steven, a gifted singer, entertained us also during the dinner.
These remaining pictures were taken during the Honorary Alumni Certificates and Alumni Pinning Ceremony. In the above photo, Jan Giguere Clarke (standing, center)--who jumped the gun during the pinning part--elicited laughter from Donna Lass Carter (standing, left) and Jan's husband, Ken Clarke (seated, right).
The photo left above shows Assistant Director of Alumni Relations Monica Hill pinning Don Thomas. The Alumni Relations staff, as always, did an excellent job of organizing the reunion and being on hand during it to serve as needed the celebrating class members and their guests. The photo right above shows Nelson Baer being pinned by his wife, Kathryn Baer. Nelson has donated his 1968 program to the 1963 - 1970 collection of CNC's first Commencement Exercises programs, soon to be on display in the Alumni House.
Three Christopher Newport athletic greats together (L-R): Raoul Weinstein, CNC's first men's track coach--also previously an outstanding track star at Newport News High School; Wade Williams (tan suit coat), one of the first members of CNC's men's track team (nicknamed "Iron Man" by teammates); and Bev Vaughan (first men's basketball coach at CNC--previously assistant men's basketball coach at William and Mary. No-- Raoul is not trying pull off Wade's left ear; he is trying to put Wade's alumni pin on his lapel. Bev is wondering why he doesn't get a pin too. The pinning ceremony was one of the many fun times at this Golden Reunion of CNC's Class of 1968.
Photos by CNU staff photographers except where otherwise noted.
The 50th Reunion Weekend was a huge success!
The evening and dinner in the Alumni House were AMAZING.
Kudos to Baxter and the entire Alumni staff
as well as to the Dining staff.
No stone was left unturned to ensure that everyone had a wonderful time.
--Jan Giguere Clarke ('68)
Over thirty people attended the 50th Reunion of CNC's Class of 1968, held at Klich Alumni House. Attendees included class members; former faculty Bev Vaughan (1st basketball coach), Raoul Weinstein (1st track coach) and this writer (former English professor); guests of the above, several CNU administrators and staff, and of course the full staff of CNU's Alumni Relations Office, headed by Baxter Vendrick. The class photo above shows (L-R) Row 1: Donna K. Lass Carter, Nelson Baer, and Wade Williams; Row 2: Vera Knez England and David Scoggins; and Row 3: Jan Giguere Clarke, Donald M. Thomas, and Linda McKenna Sivilich.
The Alumni Relations Office, as always, provided a wonderful evening for all--from themed decorations such as the above to outstanding musical entertainment and five-star food. During the Cocktail Hour, the group enjoyed music provided by First Decader Ron Lowder, at the piano below, and baritone Steven Field (CNC, '16), who also sang during the meal.
Visitors during the Cocktail Hour included President and Mrs. Trible, Rector of the Board Scott Millar ('85) and wife Muriel ('88), Director of Advancement Adelia Thomson, and other CNU officials. The photo right, courtesy of Linda M.Sivilich ('68), shows Rosemary Trible (middle) with Linda McKenna Sivilich (L) and Linda's guest Ruth Thomas. Paul Trible also spoke to the group before the Tribles and others had to leave to attend another Commencement Weekend event.
The photo below, shot from the second floor, shows Alumni Relations Office Director Baxter Vendrick (center right) carrying the CNU mace, displayed at every commencement, as he prepares to explain its history and purpose to the group. An article on the mace is posted below on this website's Home page. The mace was made by the grandfather of CNU faculty member Dr. Sean Heuvel in 1977, to celebrate CNC's independence from William and Mary.
Another picture made from upstairs shows class member Vera Knez England (center, holding book) showing a group of us her 1968 Trident yearbook. Those 50-year-old student portraits evoked a lot of smiles and memories! Vera also had provided earlier a very important Daily Press article about Commencement 1968, which was copied and distributed at the reunion. This important piece of memorabilia will be posted elsewhere on this website soon.
CNU's current Alumni Society President Christopher Inzirillo ('09) officiated over presentation of the Honorary Alumni Certificates and the Pinning Ceremony. Shown left below is David Scoggins ('68) being pinned by his wife, Julia, who earned a B.A. in English at CNC in 1992. Shown right is the pin given to all of the class members (Photo courtesy of Claude Stanley, '63).
Both the dining tables and all other tables in the downstairs rooms of the Alumni House were decorated with these lovely spring flowers of red, pink and white shown below. Shown also is the 8-page Program, with 2 pages describing the Dinner Program and others listing class members, faculty, and other facts. Baxter Vendrick opened and closed the program and Dr. Lois Wright ('62), the first graduate of CNC, delivered the blessing. While we dined on a delicious spinach salad topped with strawberries, almonds and goat cheese with poppy seed dressing, the a cappella singers CNU Voices entertained us with two songs.
During the second course--char-grilled filet mignon with a pancetta and smoky blue cheese on a bed of smashed Yukon gold potatoes with asparagus and yellow squash--we were entered by singers Amanda Kight ('20) and again Steven Field ('16). The third course--Italian lemon cake with strawberries and blueberries--was followed by coffee and a champagne toast to the class. After brief speeches by this writer and Baxter Vendrick, the class members then went to the Great Lawn for the 8:30 Candlelight Ceremony.
During the Candlelight Ceremony, members of CNC's Class of 1968 shared the stage in front of the new Newport Hall building with student leaders of the Class of 2018, facing an audience of several thousand seated below. After a short program, members of the Class of 2018 (over 1300) gathered in front of the stage, all holding unlit candles. Two of our 1968 class members--Jan Giguere Clarke and Vera Knez England-- initiated the lighting of the candles, assisted by Student Assembly President Kenneth Kidd ('18), known to some of us as a student intern in the Alumni Relations Office. In the photo above, Vera (L, with white hair) and Jan (to her R) are standing on the viewer's left side of the stage, just behind the foliage. Visible behind them are a few more members of the 1968 class.
In the background in the above photo is part of Trible Library, adjacent to Newport Hall. This Candlelight Ceremony, signifying the transition from students to alumni, is always visually impressive. The candle lighting goes from person to person on the stage, and then down to the students on the lawn below, creating a sea of flickering candles. The white clothing the seniors wear increases the effect. Then the a cappella group CNU Voices, standing on the stage, leads the singing of the Alma Mater.
So ended another delightful, memorable Golden Friday 50th Reunion at CNU--the sixth one. All have been superior events, splendidly hosted and fully paid for by the impressive university that has grown from the little two-year branch of William and Mary. Our 1968 class members were also invited to attend the Saturday morning Commencement of CNU's Class of 2018, and some did so. Below are two photos of a few of them in the academic regalia provided for them, at no cost, by CNU. Both photos are courtesy of Jan and Ken Clarke.
Jan and Ken Clarke were glad to find this nearby shade tree before Commencement began. As the day grew hotter, they were glad also to be placed under a white canopy tent and provided water. The four in the photo below, under that same tree, are Jan, Donna Lass Carter, former track coach and math instructor Raoul Weinstein, and Nelson Baer.
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Published May 25, 2018
Revisiting Ric Bahr:
A Memorial Day Remembrance
by Wade Williams
Editor’s Note:Army Lt. Richard D. Bahr was the first CNC student known to have lost his life in the Vietnam War. He was killed in action on March 7, 1968. Wade Williams was the first recipient of the Richard D. Bahr Memorial Athletic Award, given annually in his memory to the full-time varsity letterman possessing the highest GPA. More details and photos regarding Ric Bahr are in Wade’s earlier essay, Remembrance, Remorse, Reflection, located in our Website Archives, under the subtab Your Memories.
“Don’t make him out to be more than he was, Wade” was the mild admonishment I received from Jim Verser as we shook hands and departed. It had been a most fulfilling two days I had spent with Jim, an ordained Presbyterian minister and family counselor from New Jersey who had been Richard Duncan Bahr’s best friend. After reading my Remembrance, Remorse, Reflection essay on theCNC First Decaderswebsite, he had sent me a letter and we had arranged to meet and talk about Ric during Jim’s 50th Warwick High School reunion weekend.
When I picked Jim up at his motel, he immediately produced a treasure trove of photos, newspaper clippings, and memorabilia I wish I had had access to before I wrote “Remembrance” --including a sterling silver letter opener he received as a groomsman at the wedding of Ric and Becky Burgess, used daily for the last 45 years to open his mail, and a peace bell on a chain, worn around his neck in memory of his best friend. We drove to the Warwick Restaurant, a landmark since the fifties for a late breakfast. Robert Brooks, a teammate on the Warwick High Track Team with Ric and Jim, joined us, and over 50 years were brushed aside as I had the privilege of learning all about Ric Bahr.
Best frIends Ric (L) and Jim (R) in their Warwick track uniforms. From "Warwick, Typhoon Renew Track Feud," Times-Herald Sports, May 15, 1961, p. 13. Courtesy of Jim Verser.
Groomsman Jim (L) and Groom Ric (R) at the wedding of Ric and Becky Burgess, Dec. 21, 1966, in the Chapel of the Centurion, Fort Monroe. Courtesy of Jim Verser.
Bride Becky's photo in the DAILY PRESS, Dec. 22, 1966, p. 20. Courtesy of Jim Verser.
Jim and Ric met in the sixth grade when Ric’s father, an air traffic controller, was transferred from New York state to Newport News. The Bahrs were originally from Bar Harbor, Maine. I learned of the open door policy at the Bahr and Verser houses, of the father who taught the boys to play baseball and football using balls made of socks; of Mrs. Bahr’s, a vivacious, beautiful woman, ritual of eating supper by candlelight; of the nightly fireside chats, weather permitting, where stories were shared and memories made; of forts built in the woods, rope climbing and rope swings over creeks; of the nearly daily wrestling matches where Ric always prevailed, but Jim refused to accept the daily outcome; of the teenage years when Jim did all the driving because Ric didn’t have his license until after high school. Had it not been for double-dating with Jim driving, Ric would have enjoyed a sparse social life.
Both ran track at Warwick High, which in the fifties and sixties was one of the top five teams in the state. As in their backyard wrestling, Jim could never beat Ric running. I learned that Ric placed fourth in the state championship in the 440. Also, when I learned that Ric was a sprinter who ran cross country and middle distance events because the team needed him there, I felt even closer to him, because I too had been an athletic duck out of water. At CNC, I was a sprinter who ran distance because the team needed me to and a former high school football player without a college team to play on.
After high school, the best friends went their separate ways, Jim to St. Andrews College and then William and Mary; Ric to UVA, then CNC. Becky, who was soon to marry Ric, went to DukeUniversity. Ric was a quick study who got by on uncanny academic potential but his lack of daily focus was his undoing at UVA and later CNC, the latter being a surprising academic buzz saw for the unprepared, unmotivated or unfocused, as many of us First Decaders would discover. After CNC, Ric’s father refused to finance any more academic undertakings. Rick did not wait for the draft but volunteered for the Army. After basic and officers’ candidate training, he and Becky were married. He was wounded in Vietnam and spent ten days on leave in the Philippines with Becky in 1967. He was then killed in action in Vietnam in 1968.
Newspaper photo with headline about Ric's death. Source unidentified. Courtesy of Jim Verser.
Ric's obituary, DAILY PRESS, March [8 or 9?], 1968. Courtesy of Jim Verser. CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE.
Ric's medals, from The Virtual Wall. Vietnam Veterans Memorial. CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE.
After two days of Jim Verser’s sharing his life with Ric and a 2½ hours’ breakfast on the second day with Ric’s high school track coach Jim Hubbard and former track teammates Dr. Frank Brown, Robert Brooks, and several others, I found the thread that sums up Ric Bahr: he never wanted to disappoint his loved ones. To avoid disappointing Jim after a rare hangover in high school, he begged Jim’s mom, a registered nurse, to help him but to keep it from Jim because “He would be so disappointed.” His volunteering for the Army was an attempt to rectify his academic failure and his father’s disappointment as well as a means of providing for Becky, the love of his life, while she excelled in college. She would go on to earn a Ph.D. in English and have a career as a college English professor. His “hurricane runs” with Jim in high school, conducted after major storms in that period, were also devoted to helping people along the way overcome the ravages of the storm to their property, a means of alleviating the despair and disappointment of strangers. His unexpected all-state performance in the track championships was motivated by his coach’s disappointment in the overall performance of his team that day. However, the greatest disappointment for Ric’s loved ones was one he could not control—his death.
Jim recalls the day in March of 1968 when he received a call at the Newport News Detention Center, where he then worked, informing him of Ric’s death. He left work crying, hopping on one leg (having sustained a broken ankle) and drove to the grieving Bahr household. The closed casket funeral was held at Mount Carmel Catholic Church. During those turbulent times, Jim developed anti-war sentiments fueled by the death of his best friend and by years spent at seminary deeply involved in anti-war protests. It was at one of those protests that Jim received a peace bell emblem on a neck chain that he wears daily in memory of his fallen loved one.
Jim’s accomplishments include being a Presbyterian minister and a Hebrew scholar, and having a family counseling practice. Jim is a brilliant man who doesn’t wear his brilliance on his sleeve. A man in his late sixties who looks fifteen years younger, with salt and pepper hair and full beard, impeccably groomed, with shining, intuitive, kind eyes, more attuned to listening than to talking. When we parted, he took my hands in both of his and implored me not to make Ric out to be “more than he was.” I didn’t have to, Jim. Despite his short-comings in his short life, Ric was, is, and always will be a wonderful young man who has touched so many lives and continues to do so. I will always say hello for you, Jim, every Memorial Day, as I visit Ric's grave in the Hampton National Cemetery.
Wade Williams (1968 First Decader) had an outstanding career in both teaching and coaching, starting at Ferguson H.S. (Newport News). Next he was head track coach and assistant athletic director at VMI (Lexington) for 11 years (1974-86), then head track coach at ClemsonUniversity (Clemson, SC) for 3 years. Afterwards he returned to teaching high school English and coaching high school track and football, serving at Warwick H.S. (Newport News) and then Western Branch H.S. (Chesapeake). He retired with 44 years of exemplary service in education and athletics at the collegiate and public school levels. He and his wife live in Portsmouth, VA.
Wade Williams as student at Hargrave Military Academy. Yearbook photo from family collection.
Wade Williams, 2006 photo from family collection.
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Republished May 25, 2018
The Memorial Day Poppy:
A Tradition Born from a Poem
by A. Jane Chambers
Shown above, next to his most famous poem, is Lt. Colonel John McCrae (1872 - 1918), a Canadian poet, soldier, and physician. At age 41, as World War I began, he volunteered to join a Canadian fighting unit as a gunner and medical officer. He had previously fought as a volunteer in the Second Boer War (1899-1902) and considered military service his major duty, having a father as a military leader in Ontario.
While McCrae's unit was fighting in the Second Battle of Ypres, in the Flanders region of Belgium, the German army attacked the French positions north of the Canadians with chlorine gas on April 22, 1915, launching one of the first chemical attacks in the history of war. Luckily, the Germans were unable to break through the Canadian line although fighting for over two weeks in a battle McCrae described in a letter to his mother as "a nightmare" during which "all that time ... gunfire and rifle fire never ceased for sixty seconds....And behind it all was the constant background of the sights of the dead, the wounded, the maimed, and a terrible anxiety lest the line should give way" (Wikipedia).
Lt. Alexis Helmer (photo R), a close friend of McCrea, was killed on May 2 during this fierce battle. There was no chaplain available, so McCrae performed the burial service himself. He noticed with surprise that red poppies were growing quickly around the graves of his dead comrades. As Sarah Pruitt writes in her essay "The Poppy and the Poet," "the brutal clashes between Allied and Axis soldiers tore up fields and forests" in this region, "tearing up trees and plants and wreaking havoc on the soil beneath. But in the warm early spring of 1915, bright red flowers began peeking through the battle-scarred land: Papaver rhoeas, known variously as the Flanders poppy, corn poppy, red poppy and corn rose...classified as a weed" (history.com).
The sight of the blood-red poppies among the recent graves inspired McCrea to write "In Flanders Field" the very next day (May 3, 1915). Various friends urged him to publish it, and in late 1915 it was published in the English magazine Punch. The poem would be used at countless memorial ceremonies, and became one of the most famous works of art to emerge from the Great War. Its fame had spread far and wide by the time McCrae himself died, from pneumonia and meningitis, in January 1918 (Wikipedia).
An American woman, Moina Michael, initiated the practice of wearing red poppies to remember the deceased military. She read “In Flanders Field” in the Ladies’ Home Journal two days before the armistice. A professor at the University of Georgia when WWI began, she had taken a leave of absence to volunteer at the New York headquarters of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), which trained and sponsored workers overseas. Inspired by McCrae’s verses, Michael wrote her own poem in response, which she called “We Shall Keep Faith.”
As a remembrance of the sacrifices of Flanders Field, professor Michael vowed to always wear a red poppy. Finding a batch of red fabric blooms at a department store, she kept some for herself and gave others to her colleagues. After the war ended (1918), she returned to the university town of Athens, GA, and began making and selling red silk poppies to raise money to support returning veterans. Thus began her campaign to create a national symbol for remembrance. In the summer of 1920, she managed to get Georgia’s branch of the American Legion, a veteran’s group, to adopt the poppy as its symbol. Soon after that, the National American Legion voted to use the poppy as the official U.S. national emblem of remembrance when its members convened in Cleveland in September 1920. It quickly became a major symbol of Memorial Day (Sarah Pruitt).
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Published May 25, 2018
Re:Revisiting Ric Bahr:A Memorial Day Remembrance, by Wade Williams.
FROM Peg Fisher Meredith:Thank you for posting this, Jane. I wasfriends with Ric's sister Meri at Warwick High. I remember this like yesterday as I attended his funeral ceremony. Meri and I were juniors in high school at that time. What a wonderful and honoring article by Mr. Williams.... If I find out [where Meri is] I will surely share it with you.
FROM Kay Verser Forrest: I think Meri lives in Florida now. If you give me your information by FB messenger, I will send it to her sister Sheri and let her pass it on.
Editor:I have contacted Kay Forrest on behalf of Wade Williams, who wants this contact with Ric's family.
FROM Pamela Cridlin Cole: Graduated with Ric, Jimmy and Becky. Thanks for sharing this article.
FROM Jane Renn Eadie: Such a good high school friend. I have such great memories of Ric and of sweet Becky. Ric: considerate, thoughtful, witty, kind, insightful, friendly, intelligent, trustworthy. Becky: sweet, kind, warm smile, gracious, intelligent, gentle, considerate, modest.
FROM Dan Coleman: I remember Ric well from track.
FROM Michael Smith:RIP Brother. Welcome Home. Thanks for this remembrance, Jane.
FROM Alexander Bivins: It's a very appropriate day to post this since this is Memorial Day 2018.
FROM Joseph Madagan: Lest We Forget.
Re:The Memorial Day Poppy: A Tradition Born from a Poem.
FROM Charles Snead:Thank you.
Re:The Man Behind Christopher Newport's Mace: J.J. (Jan) Heuvel, Sr., by Sean M. Heuvel.
FROM Dr. Mario Mazzarella:What a surprise to see a picture of me holding the mace in the article on its creation.
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