Fallen Classmates

The table of contents page for the September issue of Reed describes the In Memoriam section as “honoring our fallen classmates, professors, and friends.”

“Fallen” is a euphemism most commonly used to describe the sad fate of soldiers who have been killed in action; I question whether the word is appropriate for classmates, professors, and friends who may have simply lived out their natural life spans or succumbed to accidental injuries or disease.

Mother Reed taught use to use language clearly, exactly, and precisely. Could we not perhaps describe the people mentioned in this section as either “departed” or “deceased?”

John Cushing ’67

Portland, OR

Editor's Note: When it comes to euphemisms, you’re damned if you do and consigned to extensive unpleasantness if you don’t. We first started using this term some years ago, leaning on the idea of “Comrades of the Quest.” I concede that “fallen” has martial (and arboreal) overtones, but it seems less mealy-mouthed than other terms. Can anyone suggest a better alternative?