V-E Day 75th Anniversary Virtually Celebrated


Senior government students from the graduating Class of 2020 commemorated the 75 th Anniversary of Victory in Europe (V-E Day), May 8, 1945 with a zoom memorial service on June 3, 2020, to honor the men who left Roman in those years to make a difference in the world at a time of great peril. To cap off an extensive curriculum unit on the
history of the end of the war that included research into the lives of the 112 Cahillites who gave their lives in the conflict, students were asked to write a reflection on an essay written by Willliam J. Laux, RCHS Class of 1943.

Bill Laux graduated Roman in 1943. His senior yearbook photo shows he led an active student life at Roman as a member of The Cahillite, Glee Club, Debating, Dramatics, Purple & Gold, Latin Club, and Annual. When Bill was a junior he entered an essay contest sponsored by the Junior Board of Commerce on “Why America Must Win This
War.” Sixty schools participated and over 10,000 essays were submitted. Bill Laux’s essay on “Americanism” was selected as the winning essay.

After graduation Bill attended the University of Pennsylvania on scholarship, majoring in political science. In the fall of 1943 he was inducted into the US Army, like the overwhelming majority of his Class of 1943 classmates, including Joe Kiernan, Charles Keenan, Al Perkolup, and many others. Bill served as an infantry man in the European theater, where he was killed in action on November 30, 1944 near Metz, France.

The senior students were asked to read and reflect on Laux’s prize winning essay; then to respond to and analyze the values of citizenship described by Laux, how those values were lived by men of his generation, and how these same values might inspire young men of Roman to live their lives today. Seven essays were selected as finalists
and three award winners were named: First Prize to James Vassallo ’20; Second Prize to Jack Debes ’20; and Third Prize to David Sun ’20. The four honorable mentions were Blake Campbell ’20, Phil Cox III ’20, Erik Grady ’20, and Michael Nichols ’20. The judges for the essay contest were Mr. Joe Kiernan, Class of 1943, and Mr. Ed Keenan, Class of 1954. Highlighting the zoom memorial service was the reading of the names of the 112 Roman men who gave their lives in the war, and moving remarks by Mr. Joe Kiernan ‘43, Mr. Ed Keenan ’54, and Mr. Chris Gibbons ’79, as well as the contributions of Mr. Bob Durkin, Mr. Fitz Gallagher ’94, Mr. Keith Beaver Campus Minister, and senior
students James Vassallo and John Nori from the Class of 2020. The service ended with a recitation of the entirety of the Purple and Gold.