Back to "On the Road"

Cambridge & Boston
January 2008

Memorial Chapel, Harvard Square

The chapel was built in 1934 in memory of Harvard men and women who died in World War I. The main entrance faces the Square and opens onto this sculpture of a woman mourning a young man dressed as a knight.

This inscription continues around the room: While a bright future beckoned, they freely gave their lives and fondest hopes for us and our allies, that we might learn from them courage in peace to spsend our lives making a better world for others. --Abbott Lawrence Lowell (President of Harvard from 1909 to 1933)
Striking, this idea that students should walk across the yard and enter the chapel through this solemn room lined with the names of the dead. Who walking out of Widener Library today even thinks about it? Who goes into the chapel except tourists? Do students know it's there? Do the faculty? It's amazing that this memorial to the dead of all these wars has survived in this prominent place. Is it respect for the militarism of Harvard faculty and students in the past, do you think, or (my guess) lucky inattention?

Inside the chapel are further memorials to World War I, one to German alumni who fought and died for Germany (their memorial is, curiously, in Latin), another for women from Radcliffe College:

·

The Latin: "Harvard has not forgotten her sons who, though under opposite standards, gave their lives for their country, 1914-1918." Opposite these plaques is an entire wall listing the names of those who died in World War II.

Other wars are remembered include Korea (18 men) and Vietnam (22--a very small number for a long war, it seems; Vietnam memorial on the right):


Evening along Cambridge Avenue


Next morning:


Boston seen from Mission Hill, near Our Lady of Perpetual Help (a basilica)

In the Mission Hill area, near Brigham Women's Hospital

At the Massachusetts School of Art

The Greek Orthodox Cathedral and a new Northeastern University building