The production of
this issue of Holy Cross Magazine has spanned the
duration of the war in Iraq. On March 20, the day the war
began, we made the decision to abandon our scheduled slate
of feature articles and replace it with a War & Peace theme.
As the days progressed, the staff tracked the progress of
the conflict, checking for breaking headlines on Web sites,
e-mailing essays and news stories to one another. At the
same time, we were pulling together the contents of the issue.
And in this way, the war became a more personal and more
emotional experience. Now, as we watch the war winding down,
we hope weve managed to convey some of that emotion
in the pages you hold.
On campus, there were protests both against the war and
in support of American troops (and, specifically, our ROTC
students and faculty). Prayer services were held and the
Chaplains Office sponsored a four-part, lunchtime series
on Catholic perspectives regarding the war, which featured
a presentation on the just war theory, reflections of a military
chaplain, and students thoughts on the conflict. And,
on one particular day, anyone walking up the steps of Dinand
would have been confronted with a huge and billowing banner,
draped from the library roof, that proclaimed, Iraqis
Dying. Were No Safer (see back cover).
Though disagreement about the war was apparent on campus,
it was never contentious. In the best Holy Cross tradition,
students and faculty spent the weeks of the war reading,
writing, discussing, debating and praying over an event both
complex and deeply disturbing.
What my own mind turned to, repeatedly, during this time
was the status of the recent ROTC graduates Id come
to know over the last several years. That personal connection
was underscored when I interviewed Capt. Terry Labrecque,
the commander of the Colleges ROTC unit and professor
of naval science. It was with genuine emotion that Capt.
Labrecque spoke about the upcoming commissioning of his graduating
seniors: This is an exciting but very solemn event, he
said. Because you put your right hand up, and you swear
to obey and defend the constitution of the United States
against all enemies both foreign and domestic.
seniors are within two months of taking this pledge. Some
will go from Holy Cross, straight to their ship. And if this
war is still going on in late May, theyre going to
It now appears the war will be all but concluded by Commencement.
However, there were numerous alumni serving in some military
capacity. Thankfully, Holy Cross did not sustain any alumni
casualties. HCM managed to track down some of our
own during the height of the conflict. Their letters from
the Gulf can be found in the Class Notes section of the magazine.
Elsewhere, you will find essays from faculty and alumni discussing
various aspects of the war. And in an article sure to generate
strong feelings, we profile an alumni group opposed to a
ROTC presence at the College. As always, we welcome your
response to these stories.