Memorial honors fallen Marine

Memorial honors fallen Marine

Jordan Leal, News Editor

The black marble bench is cold and shiny. The clouds gloomy and dark. The trees willow in the wind, as if they are whispering the words: “all gave some…some gave all.” A ray of light suddenly beams through a crack in the clouds, illuminating the concrete pillars, highlighting the words engraved: honor, courage, commitment.

This past summer, LHS attendance officer Thomas Cote, along with hundreds of other workers, completed a memorial at Ludlow High School for Joshua D. Desforges, a marine and LHS alum who lost his life on May 12, 2010 in Marjeh, Afghanistan.

“The Location of the memorial couldn’t be in a better place. It is a place where you can go that’s quiet and easily viewable. I’m hoping for those who are sitting in classrooms, that drive by, or walk next to it, use it as a daily reminder to make good decisions, and to never loose track all we’ve lost,” said Cote, who picked the center of the bus loop at the rear of the high school to erect the memorial.

The classrooms located on the D wing and E wing face the back of the school, and have a direct and clear view of the memorial.

“Every time I look out there I just say ‘wow’,” said science teacher Hollington Lee. “It’s a beautiful, peaceful space.”

The memorial has been an inspiration to students as well.

“I want to go to the Marines once I graduate high school. I want to serve my country and I want to give it all I got,” said senior Greg Santos. “Joshua and this community have shown me how not to be afraid — how much of an honor and privilege it is to do something good for this country — while proving if anything were to happen to me, I would have so many people who would care for me and remember me.”

Cote, who is a former Marine, said that hundreds of people were involved in raising money and creating the memorial, including members of the Ludlow High School community, Ludlow public safety personnel, volunteers, contractors, and more. Most of the money was generated through the Joshua D. Desforge fitness challange and t-shirt sales. Many contractors donated time, materials, and labor for the project. Former LHS art teacher Maureen Cotti designed the memorial.

“This is a breathtaking tribute for a man who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” said English teacher and former Marine Charles Cangemi.  “Whether one’s contribution [to the memorial] was small or large, that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that it brought thousands of people together to create something beyond anyone’s expectations.”

“Honor,” “courage,” and “commitment” are the core values of the United States Marine Corps.

“These words give them strength and regulate their behavior to meet any challenge. Joshua fought for our country and died for our country. He fulfilled these core values, and he met the ultimate challenge,” said Cote.

The clouds have cleared. The grass is green. The setting is finally complete. The memorial helps fill a void that has been felt by many in the Ludlow community.