Today at 11 am we’re doing a little ceremony in memory of Harold Holden Sayre. For those of you who know your World War One history, the 11 am time has a certain significance. For those of you who read this blog, you know that our ceremony for Harold Sayre is part of the larger Wesley College Documentation Project.
One of the great things about doing an event like this is the opportunity to thank everyone who made the Wesley College Documentation Project possible and especially my students in the WCDP Class.
Brian Larson and Michael Pieper at UND Facilities gave us remarkable access to these buildings and Brian served as a valued interpreter of the structures. Richard Rothaus, Kostis Kourelis, Joe Vacek, and Gordon Iseminger, walked through the buildings with us and helped us see things we’d have otherwise missed (literally and virtually). The UND Archives at the Chester Fritz Library’s Department of Special Collections patiently allowed us to move through their collection. Dana Sande and Bret Weber of the Grand Forks City Council, Anna Rand the UND student intern at the City of Grand Forks, and Jeff Wencl of the Grand Forks Historic Preservation Commission connected us to the community and the Grand Forks Air Force Base. Sheila Liming provided us with music today and Michael Wittgraf graciously recorded and performed at the final concert in Corwin Hall earlier this spring.
Susan Caraher coordinated the moving parts of the today’e event, worked tirelessly to document the buildings with photographs and video, and served as the registrar for the data that the Wesley College Documentation Project collected.
Excerpt from Poem from his Pilot at the Front,
Lt. Horace Shidler, U.S. Air Service, Returned Prisoner of War
And here the sadness of it begins,
As I tell this story to you;
And the sadness felt by me,
Is seldom felt by few.
Harold Sayre was a man of men,
Proud was I that he should be;
The man that handled the guns,
The protected the aft of we.
He was shot and fell against the tarrell,
And held by the belt around him;
For aft protection I knew I had none,
And I felt so helpless without him.
How my own flesh wounds are almost well,
And soon will be no more;
But the wound in my hear will never heal
For it reaches to the very core.
As I sit here now, alone in my cell
My eyes dim till it is hard to see;
Remembering the look on his pitiful face,
When he looked up at me.
Strange things happen in peace or war,
To this we’ll all agree;
Oh God! If one of us had to go,
The Lord why wasn’t it me!
But now you have chosen me to stay
In this land of joy and trouble;
Let me live and raise a boy to be,
A “Harold Sayre’s” double.