McDonogh Remembers

The school community gathered with reverence in the Louis E. Lamborn Memorial Field House on Thursday, May 22 to observe Memorial Day and remember and honor McDonogh alumni who gave their lives in service to our country. Even though the ceremony was moved indoors due to the rain-soaked ground around Memorial Court, mid-way through the service Alumni Association President James Taavon '84 and 2014-2015 Student Body President Andrew M. carried the ceremonial wreath outside and placed it in front of the monument. The Lower School bell choir and chorus and the Upper School string ensemble provided music throughout the tribute, and the Upper School Trumpet ensemble played Taps at the close of the ceremony. Afterward, students and guests visited the Rogers Lobby in the Edward St. John Student Center, where Butch Maisel '72 displayed military artifacts from the Vietnam War. (See a report on WJZ-TV about the ceremony and the display here.)

In his opening remarks, Headmaster Charlie Britton expressed gratitude for McDonogh’s seventh headmaster, Louis E. “Doc” Lamborn, who worked relentlessly after World War II to build Memorial Field House and construct Memorial Court to honor McDonogh graduates who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. He said, “Doc was a tough man with a tender heart, who never wanted McDonogh to forget its fallen cadets. Thus, McDonogh remembers because of Doc Lamborn and because of generations of members of our community who have recognized Memorial Day and our fallen graduates.”

Britton concluded by sharing, “There are many themes that this school has carried over the years, but one of the most sacred is that McDonogh doesn’t forget. McDonogh Remembers…whether on Founder’s Day when the Chapel bell tolls or when we stand around Memorial Court to commemorate those who lost their lives during wartime, our community pays tribute to the students who once walked these hallways, played on these fields, and called McDonogh theirs.”

Director of Religious Studies, Character, and Service John Grega used the occasion to preserve the memory of Thomas Foy, a member of the Class of 1962, who died in Vietnam. Following are his words:

Lieutenant Thomas Foy, McDonogh class of 1962, landed in Vietnam on April 15, 1968, as part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. One month later on May 15, at Bong Con in South Vietnam, he was hit by shrapnel and killed. Twenty three years of age, married but two years, son of an Army sergeant who himself was killed in World War II, Tom Foy had prepared himself for a life of service in the military, prepared both at McDonogh and at the Citadel in college and tragically became another life brimming with hope and possibility cut short in its prime.

Tom Foy arrived at McDonogh in the second grade. After the death of his father in World War II, his Mom had remarried. She and Tom’s stepfather knew about McDonogh’s tradition and values and thought it would be the perfect place for Tom’s education. As a day hop student for eleven years, Tom did not just put in time but involved himself in the life of the school. When he reached his final years here, he had already served as a reporter for The Week and had also participated in the Cotillion Club which planned social events for McDonogh’s cadets, especially the big dances like the Ring Dance and the Prom. After stints on intermural teams and JV squads, Tom landed a starting job as defensive left end on the orange and black varsity football team. Despite the early expectations that it would be a rebuilding year, the team earned a 4-3-1 record and even beat powerhouse Southern High, the previous year’s conference champions. In the winter of ‘61-‘62, Tom served as manager of the varsity basketball team, even though it meant significant difficulties for someone who rode the buses. He also played on the varsity baseball team and had even switched positions to become the back-up catcher because the team needed him there.

As he dreamed about college, Tom considered Maryland and the Coast Guard Academy among his options. When he graduated from McDonogh in 1962 with the rank of Guide Sergeant in the Cavalry, he chose to continue military training by enrolling at The Citadel in Charleston, SC. He completed his course of study and graduated in May of 1966. One month later he married his college sweetheart, Peggy.

On May 20, 1968, Peggy received a happy letter from husband Tom in which he shared the good news of his imminent promotion to captain. Three days later, she was notified of his death. His promotion to captain did in fact take place, but only posthumously; thus the tragedy of his untimely death only increased. Tom Foy had committed himself to a life of service in the military; such a commitment came with a cost in the 1960’s. But he was willing to pay that cost because of his belief in service and its values of honor and dedication to something much bigger than himself.

As Mr. Britton indicated in his comments, this area outside Memorial Field House where we gather will soon be transformed as part of the Campus Master Plan. A major feature of the transformation will be the inclusion of names like Tom Foy, of cadets, of Eagles who have died in service to our country, but whose names do not yet appear on the monument outside. Memorializing, remembering is a part of our essence at McDonogh and it is fitting that names like Tom’s will finally be included in this sacred place.

Goodness inspires service and service inspires self-sacrifice. Tom Foy’s goodness led him to a life of service, to a life of honor and commitment, to a life of selfless sacrifice. May his memory and the memory of all those we honor today inspire us in the same way: to affirm our native goodness, to foster its growth in service, and finally to study in our course of life to do the greatest possible amount of good.

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McDonogh School | 410.363.0600 |
8600 McDonogh Road | Owings Mills | Maryland | 21117