Thomas Sharp McChesney
West Point, 1970
Be Thou At Peace
Posted by Terry Johnson on July 18, 2011:
I'm sorry I could not come to Tom's memorial celebration yesterday. I'm even more sorry for your loss. Though I never got to meet you, I'm sure we would have hit it off as well as Tom and I had so many years ago.
Tom was one of my roommates when we were plebes. He made an incredible impression on me that lingers these many years later.
We joined the Plebe Glee Club in order to get away from West Point and even enjoy a little singing. Tom had a great voice. I remember singing something I'd learned and asking him what he thought. The turkey told me my voice was cracking! Music was one of our common interests. Tom had a record player in our room and a collection of albums including the Lettermen that we loved to listen to. I stuck with Glee Club all four years along with several others in our company. Tom was in and out, and we missed him when he was out.
I've seen Paul Soucek's moving tribute to Tom and similar words from Ed. John Hennessey and I shared laudatory memories as well. We called your house several years ago from here. John and Missy were here for dinner. We called to reconnect with Tom. He sounded great, saying he'd love to stay in touch. Unfortunately, we didn't. It strikes me now how much folks wanted to be counted among Tom's friends. He certainly had a way about him, but I know you appreciate that more than any of us.
To give you an idea of how much I thought of Tom, many years ago I was in Colorado for some reason or another that I can't recall-probably an Army football game with Air Force. I took some time to look your address up in the phone book and drove to Fort Collins to find the house. I must have tried calling unsuccessfully which explains the blind dropping in. I went to the door of what I assumed was your house and knocked. It was a weekday and early in the day so I wasn't surprised no one answered. I was so disappointed, but I wrote a note and stuck it in the door or mailbox. Now that I think about it, I probably had the wrong address! At least I tried.
Tom was an icon to me in many ways. He was totally unassuming, honest to the point of brutal (see comment above about my song), modest in spite of his many talents, and just plain fun. I was impressed with his athletic prowess. While we were about the same size, he was faster and stronger and more coordinated than me (though I think I could skate circles around him on the hockey rink). I spent one weekend with him at his folks place at Fort Hamilton near the foot of the Verrazano Narrows bridge. I don't remember his parents that well, but I do remember the warm atmosphere. Please convey my condolences to them and feel free to share this letter with them.
I sincerely hope that you and the boys find some solace in these words. May God bless you and give Tom the special place he deserves.
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