Forty Eight Stars Fly at Concord for Fallen Wwii Hero
Athens, W.Va. - “Anchors Aweigh” played on the Marsh Carillon at Concord University in preparation for a tribute to an American hero. The crew of the U.S.S. Price and members of the Concord community came together to celebrate the life of Lieutenant (j.g.) Edward Max Price, a Concord alumnus, in the J. Frank Marsh Library, Saturday, October 16. The ceremony began at 11 a.m.
“During the Battle of the Coral Sea on the famed U.S.S. Lexington, Max Price became a legend. Despite being fatally wounded, he never left his anti-aircraft guns as the Lexington was overwhelmed by the enemy. For his remarkable bravery, service, and ultimate sacrifice in the name of this great country, the U.S. Navy over sixty years ago this week launched the U.S.S. Price, a Navy destroyer escort, in honor of Lieutenant Max Price,” Congressman Nick J. Rahall, said in his address at the ceremony.
“As I read the history of that engagement, it was the first time that the Japanese were seriously challenged in the Pacific. They were going southward on their way to take Australia, which became the bastion, and in fact, the staging ground for our operations in the Pacific in those days. And had it fallen, it’s likely that we never would have prevailed in the Pacific,” stated Concord University President Jerry Beasley.
Beasley shared the story of Lt. Price’s years at Concord, which included a litany of achievements including being the top student and president of his junior class, as well as serving as editor of the student newspaper. These achievements helped Price gain admittance to the U.S. Naval Academy, which ultimately lead to his heroic actions at sea. “For us, that’s a remarkable story,” Beasley added.
“Pride fills the hearts of West Virginians when people like Price come to mind … and that makes West Virginians proud always when … they go on to serve our country with pride. It makes us all proud,” Rahall acknowledged.
“The ship served with distinction in the Atlantic Convoy Service and the Pacific Theater of the Second World War, proudly living up to the ideals, the determination, and the valor of the hero after which it was named,” Rahall shared about the destroyer escort named for the Concord alumnus.
In honoring Lt. Price, Congressman Rahall also took time to honor the crew of the ship and all veterans and troops serving our country by observing a moment of silence in honor of all troops and their families.
“Our veterans, and certainly those of you in this room today, have truly been the backbone of our nation. We know that many of our freedoms and many of our liberties we enjoy as Americans today are because of your valiant efforts,” he said.
“The spirit of Lt. Max Price lives in you. His blood flows through your veins. His heart beats in your chest. And, the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who fought and who fight today look high to the standards under which you all once sailed. So, today, we recall not only Lt. Max Price, and the crew of the U.S.S. Price, but all those who served our nation with valor,” he continued.
Addressing today’s youth, the congressman shared an important way for young people to honor the nation’s veterans.
“To young people across our state, I urge them to exercise one of the most important freedoms when they become of age, and that is the freedom to vote,” Rahall encouraged, “And many of our veterans gave their lives for that freedom, and if our young people do not exercise that right to vote, then they are turning their back, in my opinion, on our veterans who have given their life for our country. So I say that not in a political sense, very obviously, but in a patriotic sense—because it is one of our freedoms upon which this country was built. Many other countries don’t have that right and are jealous of us because we do exercise that freedom . . . .”
Rahall concluded his speech with a rousing line, “We thank you, our heroes, who all America stands up to and salutes.”
Beasley took time to share with the crowd, comprised mostly of veterans and their families, that today’s students are a lot like them. “This generation of young people, frankly, I think, comes closer to sharing your values than my generation. They’re young people who know what it means to sacrifice for their community. I’m very optimistic that they’ll take hold of your values in ways that we haven’t.”
Malcolm Ogle, a member of the U.S.S. Price crew, also addressed the group and shared his gratitude to the ceremony’s coordinators. “Nobody knows how much work Dr. [Stephen] Rowe and David Shumate put into this ceremony, and we owe them a big debt of gratitude.”
Dr. Joseph F. Marsh, Jr., president emeritus, also addressed the group and thanked the crewmen for attending.
Following the remarks, the crowd moved to the front of Marsh Hall to watch a flag-raising ceremony conducted by three U.S. Naval Cadets from Richmond, Va. The crowd stood in silence and watched as the cadets unfolded a 48-star flag in memory of a fallen hero. The crowd then stood and saluted the flag as the cold, autumn breeze unfurled it over the campus beautiful.
“Max Price had everything going for him while he lived, and his example has meant something to your lives, and now because you’ve come here, he will mean much more to us,” Beasley concluded.
PHOTO #1: Dr. Marsh and Congressman Rahall listen to Mr. Malcolm Ogle, member of the U.S.S. Price Crew Association.
PHOTO #2: The U.S. Navy Color Guard posts the colors.
PHOTO #3: Forty eight stars fly on Concord’s campus.
PHOTO #4: (Front row, from left) Congressman Rahall, President Emeritus Joe Marsh and, Concord University President Jerry Beasley (directly behind Dr. Marsh) join with the crew members of the U.S.S. Price for a photograph.
Jesse Call, a student in Concord University’s political science department, wrote this press release. His hometown is Pocahontas, Va.