“Malo Mori Quam Oedari… Death Before Dishonor”

By Colonel George Church –

As I catch a few minutes between sessions during the Commissioning Weekend, I notice the date: June 15, 1996!

June 15, 1996! This must be the 781st anniversary of King John’s signing of the Magna Carta on Runnymede in the Thames Valley. “In freedom we serve!” How could I ever forget?

But then, how is it that I remember that piece of trivia since I have been reminded many times to get this article ready for New Frontier by June 17 without fail–and each time have instantly forgotten?

As a recent birthday card clearly reminded me, “The older we get, the harder it is for us to think of ourselves as old… Why, the older we get, the harder it is to think, period!”

I am encouraged, however, to read just today that researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have completed a study showing that, as males get older, their brains shrink. Was I ever relieved to read that! I thought it was just me!!

I have seen so many people during this weekend that I recognize–but what on earth are their names?

I have always had difficulty recalling people’s names but now I forget names instantaneously–before they have even gotten all the way through my ear canal!

I used to rely greatly on my wife to be my “name reminder,” but alas… the time has come when she, too, is having great difficulty!

I would suggest that Older Male Brain Shrinkage (OMBS) should be recognized as a disability by the federal government–then I could claim workman’s compensation. After all, it is claimed for everything else under the sun, why not for OMBS?

But not all is lost (or forgotten). I can still remember my birth date, my military serial number, the number of our first telephone when we were married 43 years ago (or was it 42?).

After 50 years I can still remember my old school motto and all the verses (and the tune) of our school hymn which we would sing with gusto, especially as we assembled in those hallowed halls of learning prior to escaping for the summer break!


We have a tradition as proud as the best
Ever cherished in cloister and tower
A guard when life’s easy and boundless in zest
A bright star in its gloomiest hour.
We’ll guard our own –and the school’s fair
name –As life itself from death or shame.
And then when those days –free as air –are all past
And we scatter on life’s winding roads,
We have a device to keep bright to the last
The tradition of Old Boys of Strodes.

I have many strong views on many subjects, but I can’t remember what they are.

“Excuse me, what time is the next meeting supposed to start?”

“What meeting?”

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