Boston College Unveils a Lasting Tribute to its Alumni Veterans
There are 209 names inscribed on the new Veterans’ Memorial, a 70-foot-long stone wall built to honor University alumni
ByJack Moriarty was entering his senior year at Boston College in September of 1944 when the call came to serve his country. Moriarty, a prize-winning college debater who envisioned a future career in politics, put aside his schoolbooks and left his Cambridge home to
join the United States Army.
Six weeks later, he shipped out to Europe. His family would never see him again. On January 14, 1945, while serving as an infantryman with Gen. George Patton’s Third Army, Private First Class John M. Moriarty Jr. was killed during the Battle of the Bulge when his position was hit by German artillery shells.
His body was buried – alongside thousands of other American heroes – in Luxembourg.
PFC John Moriarty ’45 is one of 209 names inscribed on Boston College’s new Veterans’ Memorial, a 70-foot-long serpentine stone wall
built to honor University alumni who lost their lives in wartime military service.
“I was really, really touched to see his name on the wall,” said Mary Boudreau of Newton, older sister of PFC Moriarty, who held a faded photograph of her brother in uniform as she attended the dedication ceremony. “Since his body was never brought back to the United States, here is a place that I can come to. It is almost like having his grave here. I am so proud that he is being remembered,” she said.
The new memorial, located on the Burns Library lawn near the main entrance to campus, was formally dedicated on Veterans Day. A memorial Mass for the deceased veterans was held in St. Ignatius Church with University President William P. Leahy, SJ, as principal celebrant.
Nearly two dozen members of the Boston College Jesuit community and alumni priests joined Fr. Leahy on the altar for the Mass.
The dedication ceremony at the memorial was attended by more than 1,000 alumni and families and friends of the deceased veterans.
“The monument before you is Boston College’s canon of men who have paid a terrible price,” said retired Marine Corps Gen. John J. Sheehan ’62, the event’s keynote speaker. “Each of their stories is different; some more heroic than others. But in the eyes of their families and the Church, they are very special children of God who were called home before we had time to tell them – one last time – that we were proud of them and that we loved them.
“What is important is for each of us to remember what these brave men have done for all of us,” Sheehan said. “This monument is both a place of reflection and a reminder that all wars demand a terrible price – not just of the individual soldier, but also from the families that they leave behind.”
Two members of the Boston College Army ROTC unit, cadets Emily Nyhan ’10 and Christopher Salerno ’11, read the names of the 209 alumni inscribed on the memorial and five alumni veterans answered for the fallen heroes in a time-honored military tradition.
Funding for the memorial was raised by an alumni committee co-chaired by two Vietnam veterans, Paul Delaney ’66 and Paul Lufkin ’64, who in 2005 initiated the campaign to build the permanent tribute to the University’s wartime dead.
The wall was designed by Stantec Planning and Landscape Architecture of Wellesley.
Reid Oslin can be reached at email@example.com