Christmas is a time of giving. Giving is a sign of gratitude. What better way to commemorate the gift of giving than capturing our local WWI Memorial Arch during a winter snowfall. Over 700 college men from historic St. Mary’s College
The Memorial Arch is dedicated, “To the Sons of St. Mary’s College who Served their Country in the World War, the Alumni Have Built this Memorial.” During the Great War, World War I, the Student Army Training Corps was established at St. Mary’s and the campus was crowded with students in STAC uniforms.~smac.edu
Over 700 of St. Mary’s “old boys” (alumni) served in the War, and no less than 19 paid with the supreme sacrifice of their lives. One of these, Lieutenant William T. Fitzsimons, of the Medical Corps (SMC class of ’60) was the first American officer to die in France, September 7, 1917. On Memorial day of 1922, a fountain honoring him was dedicated in Kansas City, Missouri, which can still be seen on the Paseo, a short distance from Interstate 70.~smac.edu
Meanwhile at St. Mary’s, a magnificent Memorial Arch, gift of the College Alumni, was constructed at the main gateway of the College to honor Lt. Fitzsimons and all St. Mary’s sons who fought in the War. Dedicated during the Diamond Jubilee Celebration of St. Mary’s in 1923, with Kansas Governor Jonathan M. Davis as a special guest, the Arch is surmounted by the Cross, and bears on either side of the inscription the old SMC seal, one commemorating the founding of the Society of Jesus in 1540, the other the founding of St. Mary’s in 1848.~smac.edu
These men gave their earthly lives to their duty. Thanks to Christmas and the birth of the Savior, they could look forward to the promise of eternal life, a life of unending glory with Christ their King.
Thanks for reading, and may you have a blessed and peaceful Christmas.
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