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MEMORIAL DAY - 2013
To all former Cadets and family members of Cadets, past and present, now serving our country in the military; we offer our deepest respect and gratitude. You are in our hearts and our prayers every day. God bless you. God bless America.
Most people don’t know that The Holy Name Cadet Corps actually began life in 1917, but it was a short-lived existence. World War I was just beginning, and the first members of Holy Name were needed elsewhere. So the corps was disbanded, and our young predecessors, many even younger than Cadets of the modern era, went off to foreign lands to defend the world against tyranny, some never to return.
Many of you have probably seen the photo of the newly re-established 1934 Cadets photographed during the early years of World War II posed on the steps of The Church of the Most Holy Name in Garfield. All the Cadets in that photo were very, very young. Standing tall in the uppermost row of Cadets in that photo is a flag with a blue star and the number 70 on it. During World War II if a member of your family was serving in the military you placed a flag in your front window with one blue star for each family member in uniform. If the star was gold you knew that someone in that house had made the supreme sacrifice. In my grandparents front window was a flag with four blue stars on it. I was too young at that time to understand the significance of that flag, but I do now, and I am forever grateful.
The young Cadets in that photo were so very young because the older Cadets had gone off to fight for America in foreign lands, for our Country and for us. The 70 on that flag represented 70 Cadets in uniform. 70 members of our Cadet family…young men just like you and I and all the young men and women who have followed. These thoughts bring back so many memories of Cadets I knew and marched with. Cadets who after their years in maroon and gold donned the uniforms of the Army, the Navy, the Marines, the Air Force, and the Coast Guard. I think of them often. I knew them. I shared an important part of my life with them. My devotion to them, my feelings for them, my pride in what they did has always touched my soul and made my spirit soar.
On Memorial Day though it becomes larger than just me and how I feel. It is about how we all feel. It makes me swell with pride. It helps me to understand in a different way the many reasons for my deep and very personal feelings for The Cadets, both the ones I knew and the ones I didn’t. That flag with the “70” on it, if it were to be made today, would have a far larger number on it to honor all those who have served our Country during the 79 years since that photograph was taken. I can’t even begin to imagine the size that flag would have to be now if there was a blue or a gold star on it representing every single Cadet who served our Country with so much honor, and with personal sacrifices beyond imagination.
For many years now Cadet Alumni have gathered together to honor our brothers and sisters who have passed into eternity. This year, sadly, our Cadets will once again not be able to participate in a traditional North Jersey Memorial Day Parade. They will be parading instead in Erie, PA close to the Johnstown, PA site where they are presently encamped learning their 2013 program, and learning also how to be Cadets.
Our new young 2013 Cadets, the inheritors of the great gift passed onto them by the Cadets of the 1917 WWI corps, and the Cadets of the 1940s WWII corps, and the Cadets who fought in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, Panama, and country after country . The Cadets who were commissioned as officers at West Point and Annapolis and the Air Force Academy or at V.M.I., The Citadel, and Valley Forge. Our 2013 Corps of Cadets, along with the spirit of The Cadets who preceded them, will be marching together to honor all those who served, and most especially all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for us and for our beloved Country.
The torch has not been extinguished in the city where our corps began however. On Memorial Day members of The Holy Name Cadets Alumni Corps will once again participate in the remembrance services at the War Memorial monument in Garfield. A Cadet Alumni drummer will play a continuous roll as the many names of Garfield’s war heros are read, and another Cadet alumnus will play taps at the end of the reading. The entire Holy Name Alumni Corps will open the program with a musical medley saluting The Army, The Navy, The Marines, The Air Force, and The Coast Guard. This ceremony will take place on Monday at 11 AM.
On Saturday, June the 15th, two weeks later, The Cadets and Alumni of The Cadets will gather once again, to celebrate who and what we are, who we once were, and the ties that bind us one to another. We will gather together on our 79th year of history to salute all The Cadets we have lost to eternity. A special Cadet Memorial Military Mass will be held at The Church of the Most Holy Name in Garfield, NJ. On Saturday, June 15th, at 12 noon. Assembled at the church where our corps was born, we will recommit ourselves to the promise of the future secured by so many who gave their lives so our future generations, with God's grace, will not have to endure that terrible burden.
It will be a solemn service of loss for all those Cadets whose names will live on forever in our hearts. We will remember in particular those who served their Country when called upon to do so. Look in The Cadet History Book and you will see their faces, the faces of heroes one and all. The full program of the Mass will be posted on this site following the events of Memorial Day.
Another major event will be held the evening of the day of the heritage event noted above. On Saturday, June 15th, at Northern Highlands Regional High School in Allendale, NJ. The Cadets will spend the day rehearsing, then at approximately 7:00 PM a uniformed first-time-ever presentation of the Cadets’ 2013 program entitled "Side by Side" will be presented. Following the exhibition our alumni will have their first opportunity to meet our 2013 Cadets one-on-one to express their support, and to wish The 2013 Corps of Cadets a safe, an enjoyable, and a successful season.
The traditional Caps-for-Cadets presentation will follow the exhibition. This yearly bonding of Cadets past and present will once again serve as a symbolic gesture of our pride and solidarity. The past will meet the present, and once again we will all be one, because at that moment all of our new Cadets will become Holy Name Cadets. We will place our hands on each others shoulders, young and old, Cadets past and Cadets present, and sing our song of pride and glory, The Holy Name Hymn. As we sing we will be honoring the 78 years of Cadets who have gone before. We will represent those 1917 Cadets, and those 1940s Cadets, and all the other Cadets who have brought us so much honor in the way in which they lived their lives and the way in which so many served their Country when called to the colors.
So, though it will not be on Memorial Day, it will be a day full of memories. Some of us will remember what it was like when we were Cadets, while others far younger will begin to understand what it means to be a Cadet. Have a rich and thoughtful Memorial Day my fellow Cadets, and then on Saturday, June 15th come to The Church of the Most Holy Name at 12:00 noon, and later that day travel to Northern Highlands Regional High School in Allendale for the celebration and partying that is sure to make new memories for everyone in attendance.
Honor our Country, honor our men and women in the military, honor the Cadets we have lost to eternity, honor the young men and women who are about to write their page in our history book, and honor our corps by your presence at the significant events of June 14th (Beefsteak Dinner) and June 15th (mid-day Mass and early evening first-time-ever performance of The Cadets’ 2013 program, ‘Side by Side.’)
For Holy Name shall always be…
Dave Shaw, 50-58