November 8, 2019

Plaque honoring Latin School veterans dedicated at Lumen Christi

Students of Lumen Christi Catholic School in Indianapolis sing a patriotic song during a Sept. 23 ceremony to dedicate and bless a plaque to honor four students of the former Latin School of Indianapolis who died while serving in the U.S. military. (Photos by Sean Gallagher)

Students of Lumen Christi Catholic School in Indianapolis sing a patriotic song during a Sept. 23 ceremony to dedicate and bless a plaque to honor four students of the former Latin School of Indianapolis who died while serving in the U.S. military. (Photos by Sean Gallagher)

By Sean Gallagher

Indianapolis is known for its many memorials to American military veterans. A new one was dedicated and blessed on Sept. 23 at Lumen Christi Catholic School on the city’s near south side.

The building in which Lumen Christi students now learn and are formed in the faith previously served as the Latin School of Indianapolis, which was the archdiocese’s high school seminary from 1955-78. It is located on the campus of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish in Indianapolis.

The new plaque on the outside of the school honors the four Latin School students who died while serving in the U.S. military.

They are Petty Officer Donald Cors, who died in 1963 in an airplane accident on the U.S.S. Saratoga; Warrant Officer William Hartwell, who died in 1968 when the helicopter he was piloting was shot down in Vietnam; Private Dennis Reuter, who drowned in the White River in Indianapolis while on leave at home; and Lieutenant General Timothy Maude, who died on Sept. 11, 2001, in the terrorist attack on the Pentagon.

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson blessed the plaque, which was made possible through the generosity of several donors and the efforts of a committee of former Latin School students who are military veterans.

Attending were Lumen Christi students, Latin School alumni, veterans, Holy Rosary parishioners and family and friends of those honored on the plaque.

Jim Bixler, who graduated from the Latin School in 1974 and later served in the U.S. Air Force, spoke at the ceremony.

“We hope that current and future students of Lumen Christi will read this plaque and know that the foundation and character of these four men were formed in this building while going to school at the Latin School, taught by outstanding teachers just like your teachers today,” he said. “We also hope that the family and friends of these four men will cherish the plaque, knowing that their loved ones, their classmates and friends, are remembered for their service to their country.”

Judge David Certo, who serves in the Marion County Superior Court and leads its Veterans Court, spoke at the ceremony, saying that there are three “essential duties” that those who did not serve in the U.S. military have for those who did.

He encouraged his listeners to perform the first of the three duties—to thank God for all veterans, “for the gifts of their lives and their examples of selflessness, thanks for these men for their faithfulness and valor, thanks for their families for their courage, even amidst their loss.”

The next duty Certo stressed was the importance of daily remembering the service of veterans.

“We honor those men by exercising our rights,” he said, “by practicing our religion, by proclaiming Christ to people everywhere, by living freely as an example to the rest of the world of every man’s God-given rights protected in this country by our Constitution and by everyone who defends it against freedom’s enemies.”

Certo, a member of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis, reflected on the many memorials to veterans in Indianapolis, but noted that “they mean nothing unless we stop to read the inscriptions and pray for loved ones who died to keep us free.”

The final duty to veterans, Certo said, was “to build on the firm foundation of Christ’s love and our freedoms.

“It is our duty to practice our faith as good citizens with joy and generosity, that we may be light and salt in a world that needs Christ now as much as ever,” he said. “But if we shrink from sending our best and brightest into the military, teaching, public service and the priesthood, if we shrink from sacrificing for the greater good God’s gifts to us of time, talent and treasure, then we fail to live up to the standards set by our beloved dead and demean their heroism by our selfishness.”

Attending the ceremony was Terri Maude, the wife of Timothy Maude, who was the highest-ranking officer to die in the terrorist attack on the Pentagon.

“I thought it was wonderful,” she said of the promise to never forget. “Although I’ve been mourning for 18 years, I see that ‘never forget’ has a short shelf-span. This just helps to reinforce that ‘never forget’ promise that our nation made to every soldier when they went into the service.”

Bob Collins, Lumen Christi’s headmaster, said the school is dedicated to helping its students to never forget the dedication of the veterans who were educated and formed at the Latin School.

“We were really happy for the opportunity to teach the students about how they’re a part of history,” Collins said. “The building that they’re in had students before them that went on to serve their country and, in these cases, to give their lives in service.

“It’s not just something that they read in a book. It’s something that they need to be a part of. They need to take up the task for the next generation.” †

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