March 17, 1955
In 1955, I was a senior at St. Francis Xavier High School at 16th Street in Manhattan. Xavier was run by the Jesuit order. We had a Cadet Regiment with two battalions and six companies. Strangely, I was chosen to be a Lieutenant Colonel and commanded the 1st Battalion. Jim Hanigan was the Regimental Commander and was a full Colonel. He had Tom Carrol, a Lieutenant Colonel, on his staff. There was a third Lieutenant Colonel, Vincent Ignatowitz, who was the Commander of the 2nd battalion.
On St. Patrick’s Day, we marched up Fifth Avenue and passed in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Colonel Jim Hanigan and Lt Colonel Tom Carrol had been invited to sit on the steps of the Cathedral, with Cardinal Spellman and his other guests, for the parade. Therefor, going up the avenue, I led the regiment ahead of the 1st Battalion. When we got in front of the Cathedral, we stoped and I, a Greek Orthodox parishioner, turned right and marched up to the steps. There, I knelt on the ground and kissed Cardinal Spellman’s ring.
Looking back on all of that, I wonder why I was selected to be a Lt. Colonel. My friend, Harry Waterson, told me he thought the Headmaster, Father Fagan, wanted to show that you did not have to be a catholic to succeed at Xavier. It was an affirmative action selection. Maybe having that rank helped me get the four year Naval scholarship I won. Xavier, thanks for the help!
One thing is certain, I never had teachers better than those who taught at Xavier and I have had a lot of teachers in my life.