On Sept. 16, the Class of 1965 held a ceremony to dedicate granite benches to the McNicholas Military Memorial. The ceremony was part of their “Class of ’65 turns 65” festivities, and consisted of an opening prayer, the singing of “God Bless America,” the blessing of the benches with holy water by Fr. Tom King, and a group recitation of the alma mater. After the ceremony, many graduates stayed to enjoy refreshments and take pictures by the memorial.
The Class of 1965 came up with the idea of donating granite benches after their class reunion in 2010. They visited the memorial during a tour of the McNicholas campus and saw that two of the five men pictured on the memorial were fellow graduates of their class.
“Both Marty Mugavin and Greg Iding were friends of mine,” said Jack Sandman, graduate of the Class of 1965. “They were very popular guys and their death in Vietnam was devastating to many of us.”
The Class of 1965 wanted to give a special gift to the memorial from their class. “We thought about lighting, additional landscaping, but kept coming back to the benches. I had seen benches at various other memorials and thought they were very appropriate,” Sandman said.
Sandman got the approval from the school and Military Memorial Committee to add the benches and began collecting funds from his classmates. Even with limited contact information, Sandman was able to collect donations from more than fifty classmates. He raised the $2,500 needed to buy the benches and an additional $2500 to contribute to the scholarship fund set up by the Military Memorial Committee.
Graduate of the Class of 1965 Sharon O’Toole Green enjoyed the reunion festivities. “We’ve had a great time,” said Green. “There has been a lot of friendship and catching up.” Green is pleased with how the benches turned out and thinks that they are a wonderful addition to the McNicholas campus.
Sandman would like to remind students to see the benches as a symbol. “Please stop and sit to reflect on what others have given so you can enjoy the freedoms we have,” he said. “Please don’t ever take that for granted.”