Niagara Gazette — I read with delight Norma Higgs’ column on Memorial Day and her reference to the Lt. Tom Savage trophy that Niagara Falls High School won in 1950.
The trophy was sponsored by the YMCA’s Men’s Club for cooperation between the city’s three public high schools (Niagara Falls, Trott, and LaSalle) in the four sports Savage participated in. It was 3 feet high and several men were needed to carry it.
This column brought forth my opportunity to state a problem pertaining to 2nd Lt. Thomas E. Savage for whom the trophy was instituted, named and awarded. Savage was a Niagara Falls boy and man who worked in the office at the former Carborundum and enlisted in the military a few days after Pearl Harbor. He had been very active in sports at Trott Vocational High School and in men’s sports leagues throughout the city.
He became a tank commander but eventually was shipped to the European Theater as an infantry officer to replace those killed in the early stages of the Battle of the Bulge. On Jan. 23, 1945, during the battle and a few days before his 28th birthday, Savage was leading a small group who were trying to eliminate a German machine gun nest that was inhibiting his company’s advancement. Sadly, the entire group was lost.
This brings me to my situation. Savage’s name is missing from the Niagara Falls Veteran’s Memorial, honoring those who gave their lives in wars fought by the United States. He is however, honored on the former Sacred Heart Parish Monument to young men lost in World War II.
From the first press releases of the plans, Savage’s name was omitted. I have contacted numerous members of the commission to have his name added, but to no avail. One former member of the commission (a friend) informed me that in one of the official documents listing deceased and missing servicemen listed Savage as being from Niagara, which the commission assumed meant the Town of Niagara. When I informed him that this was incorrect, I was assured that his name would be added to the memorial, but upon visiting the site, I was heartsick to see that it had not.
I then spoke to several other volunteers from the commission, and one individual asked me to email him with information, which I did twice. Still, Savage’s name is missing. I was told that his name was probably not the only one missing.
Before another cent is spent on this project, all Niagara Falls natives who lost their lives in the wars that this country fought in the 20th century must be accounted for. For some of these brave souls, there is no one left to remember and fight for them.
Savage lived his entire life in the north end of Niagara Falls, and his name deserves to be on that memorial.
For those interested in learning more about Tom Savage, the old Niagara Falls Gazette published his last letter to his mother on March 2, 1945, prior to his family being notified of his missing in action. The Red Cross requested that the letter be published because of his praise of the lady volunteers and what they provided the “boys” on Christmas Day aboard the ship to Europe and upon their arrival. His body would be found five years later and buried in the Epinal American Cemetery and Memorial in France.Mary C. (Savage) Hughes is a resident of Lewiston.