“From this day to the ending of the World,
…we in it shall be remembered
…we band of brothers.”
I was never a member of George’s Band of Brothers. But they have gathered together here and now, once and forever, to pay tribute to one of their lost brothers. Here we all are paying tribute to an individual whose drive, passion and decency made up a fabric of success, admiration, and memories we so fondly recall.
I serendipitously breezed into contact with George, his family and his Band of Brothers through a small window of opportunity opened to me by my coach and friend Bill Sywetz, almost 50 years ago, in this city, where we now mourn. I had never met George before that first day at Hutchinson Field, and other than those two short and transient springs which ended in 1963, I never was part of his life again. In those chilly spring afternoons and bright weekend mornings it was this ageless wonderment of baseball that encapsulated our lives. Though I knew it not then, all of us were at the tail end of an idyllic age, when the world was simpler, and the old values were understood and respected.
When I came back to Mount Vernon some four years later I gazed into that same window to see his brother Brian also compete on the often, not so friendly, fields of athletic strife. But it was not the same, times were a changing.
Daniel Defoe, stated, “that the best of men cannot suspend their fate: the good die early, and the bad die late. In a sense, no matter how old the good are, they are too young, Though, I tried, I never got to meet George again. I have no idea what I would have said. In a sense our world was frozen forever in that moment of time.
I thought of a quote from Hamlet, “What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculty! in form, in moving, how express and admirable! In action how like an angel! In apprehension how like a god!
That is how I sum up my impressions of that glance back through that clouded window of time when we were all young and the world was in front of us to conquer. In retrospect, it seems he was the one who remained forever young.
Richard J. Garfunkel
January 13, 2010