Local News Bob Cudmore FOCUS ON HISTORY Alumnus lives on long after battle death Bob Cudmore is a freelance columnist. Opinions expressed in his column are his own and not necessarily those of the newspaper. Private Michael Lynch, 20, a medical corpsman and former president of the high school drama club in Amsterdam, was bending down to tend to a wounded soldier in Vietnam when Lynch himself was killed by small arms fire March 15, 1969.
According to a military website, 13 soldiers from the Amsterdam area died in the Vietnam War.
Lynch had put his college career on hold and enlisted in the U.S. Army to serve with the First Battalion, Fifth Infantry of the 25th Infantry Division. A friend said Lynch made that decision after hearing the song The Impossible Dream in the New York City production of Man of La Mancha.
Originally posted to Germany, Lynch volunteered for Vietnam. He came home on leave for Christmas in 1968. His mother, Caroline Sampone Lynch, and younger brother, Nicholas, 16, then living in Hagaman, were with Michael for the last time in early January 1969, when they saw him off at the Schenectady bus station.
Nicholas Lynch has heard that his brother died either from enemy fire or friendly fire in Binh Duong Province. Michael’s body came home, and he was buried at Mount Carmel Cemetery.
Lynch said his brother was intense and idealistic.
He worried about the world, about racial problems, Nicholas said. He was a wonderful person. He put his heart into acting and all that he did.
Michael wrote poetry, including a poem called Why? The poem concludes, Why must we kill each dark night many poor souls, in the name of Right?
Robert Lynch, Nicholas and Michael’s father, had left the family. As the older son, Michael shouldered more responsibility after that. In high school, Michael looked up to drama teacher Bert DeRose.
He was a very sensitive and caring young man who played various character roles in the school’s drama productions, DeRose said. He loved the stage.
Michael played King Pellinore in Camelot. He was the father in Mary Poppins and The Miracle Worker. He was Max in The Sound of Music.
After high school, Michael left to attend SUNY New Paltz. DeRose said Michael was excited to go there.
A year later, DeRose saw his former student.
He told me that he had quit college to join the armed services because he felt the need to serve his country, DeRose said. HONORING MICHAEL
DeRose has proposed that the newly renovated theater at what is now Lynch middle school in Amsterdam be named for Michael Lynch. The board of education is considering DeRose’s suggestion and is open to other nominations for the name of the auditorium at Lynch, located on Brandt Place and officially known as Lynch Literacy Academy. The auditorium in the current high school on Saratoga Avenue in the is named for DeRose.
Michael Lynch was not related to the man for whom the Lynch building was named. Wilbur H. Lynch was a former school superintendent and Amsterdam mayor. The Lynch building was the high school through 1977, and Michael Lynch, a 1966 graduate, performed on stage there.
Tom Stewart, now an announcer for New York City public television, was in Camelotwith Michael.
I remember him as having a larger than life personality, full of humor and warmth and love, which were all in his performance as King Pellinore, the befuddled monarch always out walking his dog, Stewart said.
Edward Schwartz of Troy, who also performed with Michael in high school, wrote, He set a good example, both on-stage and off, by simply trying to do the right thing. Our hope is that a young person will see his name and ask, who is this? And, why?
Bill Heck Papineau
Close Personal Friend
5516 N. Bremont Ct. Prescott Valley AZ 86314 USA
Mike and I were both actors at SUNY New Paltz, NY. He had the intellectual and emotional gifts required of a great Shakespearean actor and he was one of the best friends I have ever had. I was a 62-66 Navy vet and both of us were opposed to the US involvement in Vietnam. Mike was not content with being a critic he wanted to do something about the war and being who he was, he wanted to go where it was happening. I remember the day he told me he had enlisted and that he was going to be a medic. I fully understood his enlisting but was concerned for his well-being and told him so over a couple of beers. Two weeks later, when Mike was leaving, I said that I would see him as soon as he got back. He hugged me and said that he was sure that he wasn't going to come back, but he was going to do what his conscience was leading him to do. He died on the Ides of March in the most authentic role anyone can ever play. I will never forget Mike or what he taught me.
Feb 8, 2009 Manuel Pino B/2/8th Cav Rgt, 1st Cav Div 68-69
D/1/5th Inf Rgt, 25th Inf Div
May 30, 2008 Denis McDonough
I just wanted you to know, you are not forgotten. You are loved and missed. My prayers to you and your family If anyone knows this brave soldier who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Would you please contact Randy@Bobcat.WS so we can honor Michael by having his picture placed on his former unit the 1/5 Mech website memorial page and on the Wall.
Monday, August 09, 2004 Francis Kaufman
Just a few words to HONOR your memory on the day you made the SUPREME SACRIFICE in 1969. You will never be forgotten.
Saturday, March 15, 2003 Manuel Pino 2/8 Bco 1st Cav-68-69
The proud young valor that rose above the mortal and then, at last, was mortal after all. Rest in peace.
Saturday, February 11, 2006 Thank You As part of the Gridley High School Posting Project I wish to thank a hero I never had a chance to thank until now. Thank you for your sacrifice and you will not be forgotten. Again thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice and you will not be forgotten Posted by: Rusty Collins
Monday, March 15, 2004 Last Meeting I last saw Mike while bird hunting with my dad. Mike was out hunting too. We spoke for a few minutes. I'll always remember his smile that day. He shipped out shortly after Relationship: We grew up together
Friday, June 30, 2000