The ceremony and convocation took place on Thursday, May 22, as the entire student body of the Bronx middle and high school looked on.
A formal dedication, with alumni present, followed outside, adding six new names to the class of 1963’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial flagpole, which previously listed the names of three members of that class who perished in the conflict.
The members of the Mount community honored were James Burke’62, Martin Conrad ’63, Michael Cunnion ’63, Thomas Grix ’64, Michael Kehoe ’64, Ned Loscuito ’56, Peter McCarthy ‘63, Robert Serio ‘60, and William Wilders ’58.
“The men we are celebrating this morning join the ranks of those who have preserved our freedom,” Mount St. Michael president Anthony Miserandino told the students at the assembly. “We rededicated the Vietnam memorial as a reminder that Mount has a long commitment to service.”
The original dedication of the flagpole by the class of 1963 took place well before the end of the war, on November 5, 1967.
Michael Duigan, assistant director of development at the school, said the ceremony reminds the students that they walk down the same path as national heroes.
“[The students realize] we have freedoms today because of these guys who fought for us,” Duigan stated. “The students should know these guys were in the same classrooms and halls they are now in, and that they served their country. It also is a reminder that freedom comes at a price.”
Students read the names of the deceased alumni, and placed a red rose for each on an altar next to the color guard with the American flag. Student Mario Scipione read a poem he had written commemorating the fallen soldiers.
The NYPD’s top ranking Bronx officer, Chief Thomas Purtell, who graduated from the school, arranged a fly-over by the army national guard.
In addition, Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr. sent his representative, Melvyn Romero, to speak to the students about the importance of showing respect to the soldiers, sailors, and airmen now walking the streets of the Bronx, on leave from conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“As you walk thorough the county,” he said, “I would ask that you thank a service member when you see them in uniform this summer.”