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CBHS honors military alumni at Sept. 11 halftime ceremony

CBHS honors military alumni at Sept. 11 halftime ceremony

The September 11 football game between Christian Brothers High School and Houston High School was special in many ways. CBHS alumni serving in the military, as well as CBHS veterans of all the Armed Services were honored before the game in a ceremony on the field at Tom Nix Stadium.

Presenting the colors was the Tennessee Army National Guard Recruiting Team from Memphis, which included alumnus Sergeant Joe Lane ’99.

Public address announcer Don Whittington narrated the ceremony:

“We are joined on the field by a very special group of people -- these men represent a group of alumni of whom we are especially proud...our military alumni--those who currently serve or have served our country. Tonight we’d like to honor these service members and express our appreciation to them. We also want to honor all of those who could not be here tonight but are with us in spirit. And let us please have a moment of silence to remember those who went before them and all of the men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice defending country, honor, and freedom.

“The men standing on the field are heroes for their achievements, although you would never know it from their humble demeanor. They serve not for praise or glory but for a sense of duty and honor. We have an excerpt from a military evaluation for one of our alums 1949, Mr. Paul Bowers from the class of 1949. While this description was written about Mr. Bowers, it could easily describe any of the men joining us tonight…so typical of the Brothers’ Boys that serve:

‘This officer speaks in a quiet voice and is in good physical condition. He possesses average strength, ability, energy and endurance. He is a clear thinker, reasons well and possesses excellent problem-solving ability, ingenuity, judgment, common sense, practicality, vision, alertness and is capable of clearly expressing himself orally and in writing. He is honest, sober and his personal habits and code of ethics are beyond reproach. He is neat, punctual, methodical, and dependable and has an even temper and a good sense of humor and is fair and loyal. He gets along well with, and is respected by his superiors, fellow officers, subordinates and civilians. He is courteous, interested, willing and cooperative. He accepts responsibility and has pride in accomplishment. He has perseverance, is able to overcome obstacles and behaves well under pressure.’

“It is with great pride that we welcome this fine group of men home tonight. Please join me in thanking them from the bottom of our hearts for their selflessness, dedication, and service.

“We’d also like to thank  another special group of people… families of service members…mothers, fathers, spouses, children…all those who sacrifice and endure difficult times to keep the home fires burning. Could the family members of our service members please stand?

“It’s a personal honor to be in the company of these men who have nobly served. They represent many different generations and come from all walks of life, but they share many fundamental qualities-- courage, selflessness, integrity, and dedication to duty. For example: Mr. John Fox, from the Class of 1946 is here with us tonight. Mr. Fox was drafted in the fall of his senior year in high school at CBC. He was on the football team at CBC, and with a special deferment issued by Mayor Crump, was allowed to delay his departure until after the Blind Bowl game. He played in the game and the next day boarded a train for San Diego and boot camp.

“After training he was deployed to Japan and was on the initial wave of Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima where he was wounded on the second day of the Battle of Iwo Jima on February 20, 1945. He was sent to a hospital in San Diego to recover and received the Purple Heart for being wounded in the battle. Mr. Fox came home and finished high school at the Adams street location. 10 years ago Mr. Fox received a commendation and medal from the Mayor of Saipan for freeing the island from the Japanese soldiers. Yesterday Mr. Fox celebrated his 90th birthday.

“Another Christian Brothers alum, Mr. Jim Gillespie from the Class of 1948, is unable to join us tonight, but his story is also inspiring. Serving in active duty in the military for 30 years, Mr. Gillespie is a veteran of both the Korean and Vietnam wars. He holds twelve awards and campaign medals, and although Mr. Gillespie is rightfully proud of his many awards, he is equally proud of “The Christian Brothers Medal for Excellence in Christian Doctrine” presented to him at his 1948 graduation program. He has always considered himself a “Brothers’ Boy” and greatly appreciates the educational foundation he received at the tutelage of the Brothers.

“The stories could go on and on…the selfless dedication of the Christian Brothers alumni who protect and serve….but we have some unfinished business to get to tonight.

(As the CBHS Band began playing Pomp and Circumstance, Brother Chris Englert, FSC, president of CBHS, Chris Fay, CBHS Principal, and Brother Joel McGraw, FSC stepped forward.)

“We have two gentlemen with us tonight that we’d like to recognize. Both gentlemen attended CBC high School but left the high school during their senior year, prior to their graduation, in order to serve our country through military enlistment, never receiving their Christian Brothers diplomas.

“Mr. Bob Enright was a member of the Class of 1946. During his time at CBC on Parkway he was a member of numerous sports teams…football, wrestling, boxing, and track & field. He lettered multiple times in football and won the golden gloves heavyweight boxing championship in 1945. Bob loved the Brothers and always felt at home with them. Working a paper route before school, he would arrive late daily, his arrival announced over the loud speaker by Brother Lawrence David’s daily greeting of “Good Morning, Bob.” Bob remembers the Brothers and coaches being very good to him, and has especially fond memories of Br. Constantius, Br. Lawrence David, Br. John Michael, Mrs. Spain, Coach Hatley and Coach Davis.  So fond of the Brothers, Bob even wrote a poem in high school in honor of Br. Lawrence David.

“In January 1946, in the middle of his senior year, Bob left CBC to enlist in the military. When he returned to Memphis he received his GED from Messick High and soon graduated from the Memphis School of Commerce. Bob opened Bob Enright Motors and worked there for 66 years until his retirement in 2013. Bob has remained a loyal supporter of the Christian Brothers and has served his community well. He received a commendation for heroic action from the city of Memphis, is a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus, and was awarded the Spiritus Sanctus Award from the Church of the Holy Spirit for his many years of volunteer service. Congratulations Mr. Enright, it is with great pleasure that we award you this diploma from Christian Brothers High School.

“We are also happy to recognize Mr. John Walt, a member of the Class of 1945. Mr. Walt was born and raised in Memphis. He attended CBC in 10th, 11th, and 12th grade. His second year of school was in the new building on Parkway. He remembers the Brothers very fondly and credits these “grand” men with shaping his life and influencing him greatly. He has particularly fond memories of Br. Vincent, Br Gabriel, Br. Constantius and Br. Patrick who taught him history and contributed to his later career path in law. Mr. Walt played football while at CBC and was in the very 1st Blind benefit game against Central, where he was a captain along with Harry Costello.  

“Half way through his senior year, Mr. Walt enlisted…he took an English exam one day and the next day left to serve in the Army. He served for 21 months, and upon his return enrolled in Memphis State. Despite never receiving his high school diploma, Mr. Walt went on to Vanderbilt Law School. He has been practicing law for the past 64 years and is still in practice today. Today, Mr. Walt is also celebrating his 89th birthday. Congratulations Mr. Walt, it is with great pleasure that we award you this diploma from Christian Brothers High School.

“Please join me in congratulating Mr. Enright and Mr. Walt, our newest CBHS graduates. Thank you for joining us tonight and once again thank you to all of our alumni who serve and protect. God Bless.”

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

Brother Chris congratulates Mr. John Walt ‘45

Service members take the field during Military Appreciation halftime ceremony

Brother Chris congratulates Mr. Bob Enright ‘46

Presenting the colors for the halftime ceremony, Tennessee Army National Guard Recruiting Team  (CBHS alum Sergeant Joe Lane ’99)

Here are the links to two albums of pictures from Friday night's game and special halftime ceremony.

John Slavick - http://slavick.zenfolio.com/20150911cbhsfootball

Lance Sanderson (Next View Photography): http://www.nextviewphotography.com/p20431738

(Please feel free to download, print, or share the pictures as you please, but please give credit be given if photos are reused)