LEWISTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Fifty years after graduating High School, classmates came back together in Lewiston today to honor a fallen soldier.
More than 100 members of the Lewiston High School class of 1967 served their country in Vietnam. Some of them never returned, including one who is known as the city’s greatest hero.
“For today you bring Tom McMahon back to his roots”, said former Lewiston Mayor Paul Dionne.
Two years after graduating high school, Thomas McMahon died on the battlefield in Vietnam. His friend and classmate Bob Mennealy will never forget him.
“It brought tears to my eyes. He was a dear friend and a true American hero and I’m so proud of him", Mennealy said.
It was how he died that earned him the highest military decoration you can receive, the Congressional Medal of Honor.
“You can’t anything bigger than that", said Mike McMahon, Thomas’ younger brother.
Three soldiers in Tom McMahon’s unit were severely injured in battle. McMahon, a combat medic, made his way through heavy enemy fire, treated two of the soldiers and brought them to safety.
“But what a hero. To crawl out there, not once, but three times, with no thought to his own safety”, said Mennealy.
He went back for the third soldier, but never made it.
“I know that they lost 8 men that day. Him being one of them and also one that was out there that he didn’t get to”, said Mike McMahon.
Friends, family and classmates turned out in Lewiston to honor Thomas McMahon, 50-years after he graduated from high school. Including Governor LePage, also a member of the class of 1967. A bench was unveiled in Memorial Park, that will serve as a permanent tribute Tom McMahon and his classmates who also served in the war.
Children in Lewiston learn about Thomas McMahon, and his service to this country, at an early age. That’s because they go to the elementary school named after him. Inside it’s filled with medals and memorabilia that tell the story of Lewiston’s greatest hero.