Anthropology Department Looks for Those Missing in Action

Photo Courtesy of the Saturday Evening Post

By Chris Carey

Anthropology students and history buffs packed into the Della Ratta Auditorium in Maloney Hall to hear David Clark of the anthropology department deliver his address entitled “Missing in Action: World War II Veteran’s Day Program” on Wednesday, October 13.

Clark saw Veteran’s Day 2019 as a fantastic opportunity to expose students to a bygone era of American history, as he commented on the gradual passing on of many of the men and women who served their country in the Second World War, as the war is so long past. 

“[I wanted to show] students how we “write stories” of such issues; telling the story of families and their quest to solve the mystery of missing loved ones is a deeply rooted human endeavor,” said Clark.

The event highlighted Clark’s experience in the 1990s as he volunteered as an archeologist for a B-17 Bomber recovery mission in the South Pacific. The eleven men who went missing in action in September of 1943 were recovered by Clark and his team in September of 1993, fifty years after their tragic separation from their bomber squadron and the crash into a small island east of Australia.

Incredibly moving, Clark’s presentation encapsulated all of the emotions and practical steps that go into a recovery mission such as the one he served on. It also served to show his personal dedication to his line of work and his strong sense of civic duty.

“Dr. Clark’s work is a testament to his life, not only as a professor of forensic anthropology, but also as a dedicated American who gave back to his country in ways most of us could not imagine,” said junior anthropology student Regina Brennan.

Clark’s students, who filled the auditorium, let their personal affinity toward him shine through the entire presentation as they interacted with him, and as they responded willingly and enthusiastically to his questions.

This served as only one small glimpse into how the Anthropology students view and respect Clark, his work, and his mission. As for those students not associated with the department, the feedback and response remained very strong.

“It was a nice event to go to because it reminds you that those who may be seen as forgotten are never truly forgotten,” said Mary Colella, a sophomore history major, bringing the scope of the event back to precisely what Clark intended.

“I hope that this event can become a tradition, and this work is something that the CUA campus is proud of,” said Brennan.

At the door, anthropology students accepted donations for the Wounded Warrior Project, showing even further how this department is dedicated to giving back to the men and women who give so much for their country.

“The event lets students realize recovering MIA’s and providing for families of lost loved ones is the essence of what it means to be human….which is a major philosophical issue at CUA today,” said Clark.

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