The Removal of
by Louis Husted
I just returned from BHS this morning
Sunday, February 21, where at about 8:20 a.m. the Plaque was uprooted from its location in
front of the office where it lay since installed as a class gift from the class of '61.
Billy McGann, Rick Williams, Principal Tom Price, and I watched as two workers
chiseled away the mortar which held it in place. The Plaque has a hollow back with a
one-inch lip. It also contains three recesses for studs which were not in place.
The whole operation was rather easy. The recess is being tiled over even as I
write. From there we proceeded to remove the VietNam Memorial Plaque, class gift of
the Class of '68, which was on the wall of the first landing as you come up the main
stairwell in front of the office, the Tribute to WWII Casualties Plaque, which was posted
on the wall opposite the office, The Just Cause Plaque outside of the faculty lounge, The
Brass Plaque of the Class of '53, and the Plaque which was installed outside on the wall
near the front entrance. Continuing, we checked out the Plaque imbedded in red tile
in the atrium between the main building and the 400 building, the benches located under
the walk-way between the gym and the school on Lawrence Johnson Place, (the road between
the gym and the school) class gift from the Class of '53, then out to the stadium to the
class gift of the Class of '60, which had been relocated to its current spot directly
under where the old scoreboard used to be (near the fence across from the electrical
division). Finally, we took down one of the old lightposts which was located on
Lawrence Johnson Place adjacent to the walk-way on the gym side of the road. All of
these will be sent to the Canal Zone Schools Museum in Florida. It is possible that
all these historic plaques will be made available for pictures during the graduation
exercise in May.
While I have lived the numerous changes taking place at BHS, this experience was rather bittersweet. The Plaque has always been such a unique part of life at BHS. Indeed the Plaque IS synonymous with our Alma Mater. How many of you were"provided with the opportunity" (by Seniors only too happy to acquiesce) to get on your hands and knees and buff away with a rag and Brasso? It was not as shiney as she used to be in the past since the tradition lapsed to where Seniors only could step on it. It was only a short span to where today anyone could -and did- step on it. Well, it won't be stepped on any more.
The removal of the Plaque today was carried out in a very fitting manner. No speeches, no bands, no politicians, no fanfare, no hoopla. When it was removed, we took it, had some pictures taken with it, then stored it. That was it. Yet that somehow made it less impacting. It will be odd seeing that hallway without that piece of metal firmly embedded in its center. I know that tomorrow when the kids return to school, they will certainly be aware of its absence. I know that any alumni returning for a visit will also miss it. But at least we all have the memory of BHS, and along with it is the image of that resplendent seal of the Canal Zone. And so long as the memory remains, so will the Plaque.
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February 21, 1998
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