The Castle is full of the engraved memories and musings of generations of brothers who have come through the front door seeking to live a good life in the company of good-natured men in the day-to-day reality of responsible fraternal citizenship. It is the ultimate pathos that our fraternal founders desired for all young men in 1848, and it remains changeless and inscrutably good today.
Good fraternal life creates a high sense of fraternal pride, deep gratitude, sustained life-long friends, and, yes, fun, pleasure and many memories, the stuff of life. So, too, we go on together, alive and well and growing, into our third century as a brotherhood, working together for the common good of the most storied fraternity at the university of Maine and the most beautiful fraternal house on the banks of the Stillwater River that we each cherish after all these years. Good always survives. Our fraternal marrow is deep, and our enduring 120 year history is grounded in fraternal fidelity and commitment to each other and The Castle. It has been hard work, yes, but it has been easy with united heads, hearts, and hands over the last 120 years.
Friendship, shared stories, maintaining The Castle, exercising our proud fraternal rites and traditions creates a profound sense of accomplishment, and as in years and decades past the brothers returning to The Castle in the fall of 1941 ready to continue our fraternal way of life with high affection and feeling on our historically lovely spot on the Stillwater River. They were expectant. The walked to campus as the first maple trees were burnished with a touch of yellow near Carnegie Library in September. They came back to continue their education and do research, writing, and studying. They knew that the world was war-weary, and with their eyes on the newspaper and their ears tuned to the radio, they were aware of the growing darkness spreading around the world, but they took consolation in the fact that the United States was comfortably safe and distant from that darkness. Consequently, they continued to live ordinary fraternal lives with undaunted fraternal spirit with very little though about future careers or piled bodies. They sincerely lived a funny, enjoyable, witty, playful, ordinary fraternal life like all previous generations of Omega Mu brothers. And, again, as in the past, things would change very quickly for them and the United States.
As our brothers were preparing for exams and Christmas break when they heard that Pearl Harbor had become a burial ground for 2,335 military personnel after the Japanese attack on December 7th, 1941, and soon many of our brothers would find themselves on different soil around the world: sand in North Africa, mountains in northern Italy, hedges in France, jungles in the South Pacific. They would be ‘flying the Hump’ into China, flying over the English Channel on bombing runs into France and Germany, dive bombing various islands in the Pacific, and on various fleets in the Pacific and Atlantic. No level of maturity, age, wisdom, education, or life-experience could have prepared them for what they did, but they all did it successfully, as we have always done. They still inspire this brotherhood today.
“These anxious and baffling times.”
Soon after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, they political jargon of isolationism came to a swift close. Unlike the songs that encouraged American isolationism in the 1930’s, such as “Let Them Keep it over There,” many songs were quickly written in the United States after the bombing to encourage the key elements to win the war against the Axis Powers: patriotic commitment and obligation. Songs such “Remember Pearl Harbor” and “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition” were played repeatedly on the radio to increase the patriotic fervor and commitment of Americans to be faithful to the essential call to serve the United States in order to defeat the incomprehensible darkness that was eclipsing the light of civilized society around the world to the point of near collapse.
Many, if not most, of our ambitious and talented Omega Mu brothers put the congenial world of fraternal and academic innocence behind them and enlisted in the great numbers in the various branches of the military and played an essential role in defeating the Axis Powers. It was not a small change for each of them because the peril of the world was real, and it permeated everything. The bombing shattered our collective national sense of security, even immunity, from the war, and it became the wind in our sails to prosecute the war to defeat fascism and Nazism to prevent the world from unravelling entirely into an uncivilized state. But, nevertheless, it would cost the lives of many American soldiers. It has been stated that “responsibility is the umbilical cord of creation,” and many of our Omega Mu brothers felt that responsibility, and they did not demure. They are part of the storied history of this brotherhood.
“Come my friends, ’Tis not too late to seek a newer world.”
Guided by pure and right and noble reasons, pulsing life and energy, and keenly aware of what awaited them in Europe and in the Pacific theaters of operation, they left the nourishing security and comfort of their families, fraternity brothers, and academic life, and without excessive questioning or analysis, and served our nation with unrelenting, fierce drive, and many paid the ultimate price in confronting the darkness of totalitarianism and delivering crushing blows to achieve ultimate victory. For the sheer force of their collective service, they superbly demonstrated the truthful necessity of responsibility and obligation, and integrity and courage, in their service to our nation. In truth, the embodied command: “Let there be light” to protect the good in life during times of upheaval, chaos, and moral aridity. And, to be sure, we have always played an outstanding role in service to our country since our fraternal founding, and that is simple historical consciousness of citizenship, “A nobility of soul.” They changed the world and our lives for the good. What they did averted a growing evil around the world. It was faithful service, and our faithful service goes on. It is fair to assert that the formation of that conscious behavior was shaped by the life communal life they lived in the house. And, yes, in the long historic litany of our brotherhood that is the way Omega Mu Fijis have always been. We have always had enthusiasm and commitment to create a better future with fraternal confidence, and that civic strength continues to this day with all of our brothers who presently serve in various branches of the armed services, and that level of courage is deeper than our words of praise, gratitude, and thanks.
We will never know the full involvement our Omega Mu brothers played in bringing victory in 1945, we celebrate them for their efforts and never capitulating to political and moral anarchy. What they did, along with the hundreds of thousands of other servicemen in World War II, was a transfiguration. It was great. Their actions were in consonance with the dedicated service our brothers in all previous wars. Our Omega Mu brothers who served in the military during World War II merely embodied the ‘ought’ of good men to confront the degeneracy of the “principalities and powers” of Germany, Japan, and Italy for the benefit of humanity, and over 400,000 thousand servicemen died doing so. We offer our sincere gratitude to the following Omega Mu brothers who served in World War II with devoted courage. That is our past, our fraternal heritage, and we thank all of them, and their memory will never grow dim in our fraternal historical consciousness because their military service was straightforward and honest. Their service to our nation was guided by the hope to preserve and restore the world. They desired a new life for a better world writ large.That’s enough. Individually and collectively, these brothers will always remain a powerful presence in our brotherhood, and we are thankful that we share the same fraternal path that brought them to Omega Mu. With seamless Omega Mu pride, we unwavering honor the brothers who paid the ultimate price in their service to our nation during World War II. They rest in eternal repose in the transforming grace, peace, and power with God.
“Nothing we can do…can be accomplished alone”
Joseph Sebastian Boulos
Frederick Melville Cogswell, Jr.
James Frederick Dow
Hamilton Higgins Dyer
Laurie Jones Greenleaf
Stewart William Grimmer
George F. Kehoe
Charles Leslie Pfeiffer
Arthur Leu Teall
George Brewster Walker
There is a pleasure in looking back at the life-paths of so many our Omega Mu brothers. Needless to say, fortunately so, I am still learning about them, our stories, our fraternal traditions in our glorious 120 year fraternal history. It is our personal fraternal history, one that we are all proud of, and it is a family memoir, in a very real sense. As a generationally large family that we care bout, we laugh at the reminisces, stories, and lore that have come out of The Castle and our years of brotherly living. As a family, we have had every sort of disquieting crises and restoring denouements in our history, as every family does, and we continue to tread our fraternal road together.
Like any family, even though we do not move, feel, believe, think, and change in the same direction, we are still a brotherly family. That does not change. When we return to The Castle, we smile and rejoice as one large family, and Peter’s statement in Matthew fittingly comes to mind this July 4th week: “It is good for us to be here.” That is the constant variable in the beautiful tapestry of our history. In conclusion, being a family, we celebrate the meaning and significance of all our brothers who have served our country with patriotic constancy and fidelity this July 4th throughout our rich 120 year fraternal-family narrative. Thank you, brothers’. We salute each of you with pride.
Chip Chapman, ’82