Bronze Seal Memorial

 Lasting Memory of CHS Class of 1968:

Bronze Seal Memorial Dedication Pictures:

Thanks to Connie Cartwright Miller for the pictures

January 23, 2009







 The folowing is the Times Gazette Article:

Thanks to Mary & Larry (BEAR) Hart for providing the article



Speeches by Lolly and Tom:  


Dedication Service for CHS Bronze Memorial Seal

Friday, January 23, 2009

Theater, Shelbyville Central High School




“Before we start the dedication, I need to thank some folks that made this event actually happen.  In the early stages of the birth of our 40th reunion, Brent Day had the idea of making a memorial to honor our deceased classmates.  The thought took momentum, and for that reason we are here tonight.  Brent and Judy undertook finding birthdates and death dates.  Judy created our Memorial Wall for the reunion.  Job duties prevented them from traveling here tonight, but we honor them.  Thanks also to Lila Collier Beasley who has brought our Reunion DVD to highlight our classmates, Mickey Self McLean for securing the chime that will be rung as each name is called, Rhea Lawell Hiett who will assist with lighting candles, Gerald Baker who will read the names, and Tom Clifford who will offer thoughts as we gather tonight.  And although he is not here tonight, we are indebted to Larry Phillips for creating our website that keeps us so well connected.  He has done a spectacular job.



Welcome, Parents, Siblings, Friends, and Classmates to the dedication of the memorial school seal, given in memory of the deceased classmates of the Class of 1968.  When Brent suggested we give a memorial, I started wracking the brain of my sister Rheaetta Wilson, assistant principal of CHS, regarding what the school needed that would be a reasonable but memorable gift.  When she mentioned a bronze school seal and the cost, I shuttered.  I suggested resin at a much lower clost.  However, as our class responded, it quickly became evident that a bronze memorial seal it would be!!!  Even at that, I assumed it would take two or three years to accomplish this feat!  Well, you, the class, decided differently.  So I stand before you tonight with a heart that swells for the love and dedication you have shown for Central High School and our classmates who have left us way too soon.


Even thought it is a joyous occasion any time we gather, the mood for tonight’s gathering is somber.  Most of us have lost grandparents, some one parent, others both parents, some have lost siblings, and a few of us have lost a child.  Any time we gather to remember, we pause to remember those who walked before us, with us, or behind us, who enhanced our lives so richly.  Tonight our remembrances turn to those classmates who walked the halls of CHS with us.



I want to read a poem that Eddie and I sent to our friends and family after the death of our twenty-one year old son.  It is entitled “The Dash,” by Linda Ellis.


“The Dash”

I read of a man who stood to speak

At the funeral of a friend.

He referred to the dates on her tombstone

From the beginning…to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth

And spoke of the following date with tears,

But he said what mattered the most of all…

Was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time

That she spent alive on earth

And now only those who loved her

Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own,

The cars…the house…the cash…

What matters is how we live and love

And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard;

Are there things you’d like to change/

For you never know how much time is left

That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough

To consider what’s true and real…

And always try to understand

The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger

And show appreciation more

And love the people in our lives…

Like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect

And more often wear a smile…

Remembering that this special dash

Might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is being read…

With your life’s actions to rehash…

Would you be proud of the things they say…

About how you spent your dash?


Class of 1968, tonight we will pause to reflect on the dash make by our fellow classmates.  In just a moment, Tom Clifford, banker by day and preacher by night and President of the Student Council of CHS, 1968, will deliver a memorial speech.  But before Tom comes up, Mr. Embree (Principal, CHS), Bob Higgins, our class president was unable to be here tonight due to job conflicts.  But in his place, I officially and proudly on behalf of my classmates, present this bronze memorial seal to CHS, to be dedicated to the memory of  the Departed Classmates of 1968.  And in case you haven’t realized it by now, we ARE the Class of 1968…Still Great!


Acceptance and comments by Mr. Embree:  (Sorry, classmates, I couldn’t hear him.  Senior ears!)


Tom Clifford:



Thank you, Mr. Embry, for your kind remarks.


When I was asked to make a few comments at this dedication, I thought I needed to come out here before today and see this seal in person, and not just the picture of it on our class website.  When I did, I was struck by several things.  First of all, its size….It’s really big.  And its thickness and weight….I’m told it took a crane to raise it so it could be hung on this wall.   But I was most impressed by its design and, especially, by what’s inscribed on it.


Of course it says “Central High School”…  “our” school - though the halls we roamed are in another building, on the other end of town, Central High School will always be “our” school, wherever it’s physically located. 


And, “Shelbyville, Tennessee” – our town, our home.  When the planning began last year for our 40th year reunion, I daresay no one even considered suggesting that it be held anywhere but right here in Shelbyville, Tennessee.


Our school mascot, the eagle, is also depicted, and like it does as our national symbol, the eagle projects its majesty and strength upon all who look on it.


Finally, and perhaps most significantly, the words Honor, Pride, and Spirit are emblazoned on the seal, which has been termed a “memorial” seal, a “memorial” seal because it’s purpose is to honor and memorialize our deceased classmates, 26 of them as of today but a number which will grow as the years go by.  This seal also honors the entire class of 1968.  One, because as I’ve just mentioned, we will all eventually join that number, but also because without their dedicated efforts and support this seal and this day would never have happened.

The word “Pride” is appropriate because those whom this seal memorializes and honors were proud of their town, and of their school, and the rest of us were and are proud to have known them as classmates and to have called them our friends.


And finally, we recall their spirit which was often shown in their school spirit which rocked the gym and the football field and the bonfires and the pep rallies, and whose echo we will hear in the gym tonight, as their spirits join with ours in celebration of the continuity of life.


In just a few minutes, we’re going to light a candle and ring a bell in memory of each of our friends who have moved on from this life.  Just like the light from these candles we’re about to light, their lives flamed brightly….before being extinguished.  And just like the sound of this bell we’re about to ring, their laughter rang out for all to hear before being silenced forever.


So, I ask you now, to close your eyes….and in the silence of the next 26 seconds, look within yourselves, and back in time, and for the next few moments, see their light, and hear their laughter.    Thank you.


Merciful and Loving Father,


We bow now, on these grounds which are dedicated to knowledge, and we acknowledge you as the giver of all life, but we also recognize you as the one who has appointed unto all mankind once to die.  And as this occasion memorializes, for some, it is before we are ready for them to keep that appointment.


Truly, the dash between their birth and their death was not long enough, but we also know that you alone know what’s best, and that you order, not only the universe, but each of our lives, and we take solace in knowing that even when beloved friends are taken from us, it serves a higher purpose, which our finite minds cannot begin to understand.


So bless this occasion, those who have gathered, this place, and this memorial seal, which will serve from this day forward as a reminder to all of us, that time marches on, but our memories remain sealed, forever in time. 


In Jesus name we pray and say together,

                                                Amen…..and …..Amen


Classmates Remembered


                        Linda Adams                                       Ricky Lokey

                        Billy Baker                                           Billy Moon      

                        Anthony Blakemore                            Charles Napper

                        George Castleman                              Albert Prince

                        Judy Craig Keyt                                   Bill Reed

                        Parnell Crews                                      Perry Reese

                        Brent Cromwell                                   Wayne Rittenberry

                        Gay Glasgow Young                            Glen Taylor

                        Jean Harden                                        Justin Walters

                        Eddie Harris                                        Milton Whitsett

                        Milton Herriman                                 Don Wilhoite

                        Brenda Johnson                                   Ann Wiseman

                        Terry Johnson                                      Clyde Woods



Seal Picture:  A Dream in 2008, Reality in 2009


In the new theater area of the Central High School building is where the bronze Memerial Seal will hang.