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Letters to the editor are edited for space and content. Letters should not exceed 250 words and must include the writer's full name, address, phone number, email and class year, if applicable. 

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Our Home, Worcester

 

Permit me one letter commending the summer edition of Holy Cross Magazine. I entered Holy Cross about the time of the debut of the Miss Worcester Diner-and I knew of all the things you mentioned in the story. The whole issue was excellent, giving credit to the City and its citizens and places. It was good to hear about it in such a wondrous way. Keep up the good work.

Robert C. "Bob" Gillespie '52
Naples, Fla.

 

A Wedding to Remember

In the latest Holy Cross Magazine you asked to hear about favorite spots in Worcester from our student days. I am a graduate of The College of New Rochelle and married Joe Clair '53 (now deceased) on June 11, 1953, the day after his graduation from Holy Cross. In those days no weddings were allowed in the campus chapel, and it was difficult for the priests to travel, so we solved all of that by being married at Sacred Heart, the church at the bottom of the Hill. We were married by English Professor Rev. Patrick J. Cummings, S.J., who many alumni from that era will remember. (By the way, Father never did sign our marriage certificate!) But we were well married as all 16 kids, 65 grands and 17 greats (three more on the way and counting) will attest. To make things more exciting at that time, there was a tornado in Worcester on June 9 of that year, the day before Joe's graduation and two days before our wedding. So, as you can imagine, Sacred Heart was a favorite spot for me. I have visited there a few times, but recently heard it will be closed. 

Perhaps this will bring back some memories for some old timers.  

RoseMary Clair
Suffern, N.Y.

Editor's Note  Thank you for this lovely memory, Mrs. Clair. I called our neighbors down the hill at Sacred Heart and learned that in 2009, the parish merged with St. Catherine of Sweden, and the new name is "Sacred Heart-St. Catherine of Sweden Parish at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church" (quite a mouthful!). Happily, there are no plans for the church to close. 

 

Happy Reader

Holy Cross Magazine just gets better and better. I found the summer issue very enjoyable.

Timothy F. "Tim" Donohue '71
Holliston, Mass.

 

The War in My Country

In the Summer 2013 issue, John Meyers '60 wrote the "Your Turn" essay about the war in Afghanistan ("Where Empires Go To Die," Page 88). This piece in no way represents the needs of the Afghan people themselves. Instead, this article has provided your readers with an unfair picture of the current American war in my country. 

I am from Afghanistan and a senior at Holy Cross. The majority of the Afghan people do want the Americans to stay and to help us build our nation. We are afraid that once the Americans leave, we, as civilians, will fall back in the hands of either the Pakistanis, the Iranians or become the victims of our own warlords. 

We have allowed your nation to fight a war in our land on your enemies. Your country has committed human rights abuses in my country-for example, the killing of innocent children at the hands of an American soldier in Kandahar province and many killings by U.S. drone attacks. Now, to leave my people in the position where they are today is not what the Afghan people want. 

However, besides the mistakes that have been made in the war in my country, the United States has also helped to bring about an understanding of women's rights in Afghanistan. The current position of women in my country is far better than what it was under the Taliban. The United States has also created educational centers, such as the Lincoln Learning Centers sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and the Afghan government. Today, you will find these centers and gathering spaces for young people across Afghanistan. The United States has also built the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul-Afghanistan's only private, not-for-profit, non-partisan and co-educational university. Your nation has helped create the road from Gardez, Paktia, to Kabul and many more. Afghanistan's cricket team has been awarded associate membership by the International Cricket Council. Women's sports have also been promoted, and women can take part in sporting events openly. Your nation is also helping to bring electricity, clean water and healthcare to my country and I thank your nation for helping my people. 

Yes, mistakes have been made and things could have been better, but my country is still in a war zone. To build something or to achieve something in a place like Afghanistan, it takes a lot of patience and commitment. People in the States I know are frustrated with the current war in Afghanistan and ask why it is taking so long for the American politicians to bring your soldiers home, but I can speak for the progress that your country and servicemen have made in Afghanistan and that the presence of the United States is good for Afghanistan and for the security of Afghan civilians. 

Ahmad Nabi Hassanzoy '14
Kabul, Afghanistan

 

The Will to Kill
As a combat veteran, I applaud John Meyers' column. It calls for ending the Afghan War while praising the risk, stress and injury of those serving in Afghanistan. It stands in sharp contrast to our treatment of veterans during the Vietnam era. However, in an important sense, this decision deserves an added layer.

When we, as a nation, send our sons and daughters into battle in Afghanistan, we ask for more than just sacrifice. As with the British and Soviets before us, Afghanistan is where empires go to kill. Killing is the essence of war. We arm our warriors with guns and bombs-and order them into Afghan battles where they have already killed more than 10,000 of the enemy. Each enemy death left a scar on an individual American soldier, sailor, airman or Marine.

As horrific as killing is, it isn't the worst of war. To succeed on the battlefield, warriors must want to kill. They must blind their souls to attack. The successful warrior must aggressively find the enemy, kill them and pursue their next victims. This is not a natural act. It is a traumatic, life-altering experience. It is why many weapons on every battlefield go unfired; decent people find themselves unable to kill. Nonetheless, killing is how battles are won, and those who fail to kill often become victims themselves. Absent the will to kill, the warrior comes home either lucky or dead. Worst of all, s/he may come home defeated.

 This desire to kill is foreign to everything we're taught. The commandment states, "Thou shalt not kill." The best of us believe these words. But the best warriors must suppress God's commandment in order to successfully seek out and destroy the lives of others. They must put these words aside, not temporarily, but for the rest of their lives.

 When the battle is over, its images, smells and sounds return. They never go away. This traumatic burden goes far beyond simple risk. There is no eraser for what you've done with the full realization that you wanted to do it. 

War's greatest risk is not to the body but to the soul. Calls to end the Afghanistan War based on risk, cost and casualties are laudable but insufficient. We must end the Afghan War because America no longer has the extreme grounds necessary to order our young men and women to kill.

Col. Jeffrey R. Barnett, USAF (Ret.) '72
McLean, Va.

 

Bring Back the Draft

John Meyers '60 has stirred me to take pen in hand in response and support, something my wife claims I should do more often.

My family will attest as to my long-term devotion to the works of Rudyard Kipling, having suffered through multiple recitations of "Gunga Din." More importantly, I strongly agree as to his thoughts regarding the current repeat deployments of our combat troops in the current war. When the draft was in place, all able-bodied were summoned and considered. I was thankfully deferred because of a most fruitful marriage-five kids in nine years. 

However, my two brothers and four brothers-in-law all were called and served with honor during their one deployment. I asked the one who was the Navy medic attached to the Marine infantry in Vietnam how he would have reacted to an order to re-deploy. Without hesitation, he assured me that it would have been grounds for desertion. 

All to say-the draft was painful but democratic. Many shared the burden. Unlike today, very few risk the physical and emotional perils multiple times. Bring back the draft!

Brian P. McCue '61
Bay Shore, N.Y.

 

Missing Kaftan? 

Kudos to B.G. Kelley's tribute to Bob Cousy '50 in your summer issue ("Swish!" Page 54), but I would like to object to artist Opie Otterstad's painting of Cooz and Coach Doggie Julian with the 1947 NCAA championship trophy. I'm sure that Cooz would be the first to say that George Kaftan '49 P84 should have been the Holy Cross player in that painting. In the 58-47 win over Oklahoma in the title game, Kaftan had 18 points and was voted the Most Valuable Player in the NCAA tournament. Cooz, then a freshman, had 2 points in that title game. Dermie O'Connell '49 had 16, Frank Oftring '50 had 14. Mr. Otterstad didn't do his homework.

David P. "Dave" Anderson '51, P76, H08
Tenafly, N.J.

 

Cousy's Skill Set

B.G. Kelley may well remember Bob Cousy's legerdemain on the court for the Celtics and Holy Cross, but "The Cooz" should also be remembered as the last NBA player who did not possess a jump shot in his offensive arsenal.

W.B. Hynes '60
Holden, Mass.

 

Pride

I was just reading my new issue of Holy Cross Magazine and was pleased that the Milestones section included the wedding of two gay alums. As a practicing Catholic and strong supporter of marriage equality, I am happy to see Holy Cross exemplifying the values it has taught to so many students-acceptance, tolerance, openness and love-in this small way. I hope you continue to feature both straight and gay couples in the Milestones section-seeing this made me proud to be a Crusader.

Carly (Fowler) Westerman '05
Brooklyn, N.Y.

 

Remembering Earl Peace

Editor's Note  As news spread of the July 24 passing of Earl Peace, professor emeritus of chemistry, alumni and colleagues shared their memories of the quiet man who touched many. We've collected some of those memories here. Dean Peace's obituary appears in this issue on Page 88.

 

Engagement

I was fortunate enough to have Earl Peace as my Montserrat professor freshman year. He was such an engaging lecturer and motivator, something all of my Montserrat classmates would most certainly agree to. Prof. Peace had a sincerely infectious personality that made him approachable as a professor, and a friend. Prof. Peace will be truly missed by the Holy Cross community. My heartfelt prayers, gratitude and condolences are extended to the Peace family. 

Evan T. Zych '13
Ontario, Canada

 

Wisdom

While it is with sadness in my heart that I am writing this, I also feel compelled to share something Dean Peace said to me at the beginning of my freshman year. When I met with him for the very first time, I shared that I was initially on the waiting list for Holy Cross, which certainly did not make me feel very self-assured. Someone once told me that being a successful educator takes patience because most of the time, you don't know you've hit a home run until long after the game is over. And, in one phone call, Dean Peace hit that home run with words that still resonate with me: "Recognize your own potential because you have nothing to prove." He was a fine educator, and a wonderful man. My thoughts and prayers remain with the entire Peace family.

Courtney M. Correnti '05
New York, N.Y. 

 

Connection

I knew Earl Peace from the American Association for Clinical Chemistry conference, which used to bring academic analytical chemists together each year. About 20 years ago, I flew to Cleveland to serve on an NIH review panel. I took a taxi from the airport to my hotel. I had the following conversation with the taxi driver, a young African-American man:

taxi driver  What brings you to Ohio?

me   I'm serving on a review panel.

taxi driver  What do you do?

me    I'm a chemist. I teach at 

the University of New Hampshire.

taxi driver  What kind of chemist 

are you?

me   An analytical chemist.

taxi driver  My favorite kind.

me   How do you know about kinds 

of chemists?

taxi driver  I took chemistry at a 

college in the Northeast.

me   What college was that?

taxi driver  Holy Cross.

me   I know Earl Peace at Holy Cross.

taxi driver  THAT MAN SAVED 

MY LIFE!

The taxi driver had been recruited to go to Holy Cross when colleges and universities were trying to boost minority enrollments. His high school education had not prepared him for the rigors of Holy Cross' general chemistry and he failed the course. This had destroyed his self-confidence. Earl had brought it back by explaining that this was not a problem with the student but rather a problem with his background. The taxi driver did not complete his degree at Holy Cross, but was planning to use the money earned as a driver to go back to college. 

To me, this story speaks to who Earl Peace was and how he interacted with students, making a difference for them.

Rudi Seitz, Professor of Chemistry
University of New Hampshire
Durham, N.H. 

 

Compassion 

I had a unique situation with Dean Peace. September of my senior year I found out I was pregnant. The next week when I met with Dean Peace, I already decided that I was going to keep my baby girl, and I thought my only choice was to withdraw from my classes. I was attending a Jesuit campus with a strong pro-life presence, but I had never heard of a pregnant student. I assumed there must have been some unspoken rule to quietly withdraw. In addition, I was 21 and the path I had been walking on seemed to lead me to a dead end. Throughout the next year I was able to realize that it wasn't a dead end, just another unfamiliar path.

I sat across the desk and told him I was pregnant-he knew before my best friends or my family. In fact, it was the first time I had said it out loud. Before I could proceed he stopped me. He assured me that both he and the College were there to help me. He assured me that I could finish my senior year, but that I would have to put the work in. He assured me that he would speak to my professors and that we would figure out a plan. 

At a point where everything seemed out of control, Dean Peace helped settle one piece of my life. He continued to check in on me regularly. My spring semester he and my professors worked to move my finals up two weeks early so they wouldn't conflict with my due date. 

 Emma was born a week early, the morning of my last scheduled final. She sat in the stands when I received my diploma.

 Three months later Dean Peace and his wife visited my home, to meet Emma. They gave her a teddy bear wearing a Holy Cross hoodie. The teddy bear still sits on her book case along with a pink Bible given to Emma by a classmate. 

This summer, on Friday, July 26, Emma asked me to tell her the story of her teddy bear. That night instead of Dr. Seuss, I told her about Holy Cross and Dean Peace, the man who changed her mommy's life.

The fingerprint he left on my youth will remain with me. I thank his family and the College for giving me the opportunity to know such an amazing person.

Caitlin E. Johnson '09
Worcester, Mass.

 

Spirit

One of my favorite memories of Dean Peace is of him serving midnight breakfast during finals. He was sporting a Green Bay Packers jersey (his favorite team) and thoroughly enjoying himself. He chatted with everyone who went through the line and would sneak extra bacon on the plates for us. Great man, great role model.

Rachel A. Amaral '10
Raynham, Mass.

 

 

Humor

It was because of Dean Peace that I went into medicine. As a 2005 FYPer, I must have put Alchemy as my very last FYP class choice. Well, in what I am now grateful for as an effort to make this freshman become more open-minded, Holy Cross placed me in that class. The professor was Dean Peace.That Alchemy class, and the way Dean Peace taught it, rekindled my affinity for chemistry and directed me into pre-med, and eventually medicine.

I have many memories of good times shared with him and with Mrs. Peace. They welcomed our class into their home several times. He took us to see an alchemy-related movie: Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone, and wore a wizard hat to class on Halloween. He had a wonderful sense of humor, and kept Fifi, a poodle we made him out of our molecular model set, on his desk. He taught me that Coke sinks, but Diet Coke floats. He came to support me at the coldest, wettest, snowiest crew race I can ever remember rowing in. He was always approachable-like a father figure, which was comforting when home was far away. 

Holy Cross will always be a little less cheerful without the "Duke of Earl" walking around sharing a smile and a kind word. I pray his family can take comfort in knowing that his wonderful soul has touched many lives; countless students and faculty, family and friends, young and old, have been changed for the better by his peaceful presence. And as a wise man once said (in every email he wrote), "Change is inevitable, except from vending machines." 

Krista Haith '05
Mountain View, Calif.

Visit this issue's Web Exclusives at http://magazine.holycross.edu/, to read more remembrances of Earl Peace from students, alumni and friends. Among them is an essay by Mary Kate Brennan '09, about her relationship with Dean Peace and his signature quote, "Change is inevitable, except from vending machines."