THE LEGEND OF "CARRY ON"
The school year 1932-33, despite a Depression year that gripped our nation in an economic stupor, held out hope and a promise of better things to come for returning students. Early pre-season talk and newspaper articles forecast Mesa Union High School as a strong contender for state football champs. Six lettermen from the previous year's squad were returning. One talented and dedicated young man, Zedo Ishikawa, was considered All-State material in all newspaper articles tracking the Mesa High team's progress.
Wednesday night, September 21, 1932, Zedo attended the meeting of Troop 54 of the Boy Scouts of America which was held at the LDS Church, Lehi Ward. When Zedo returned home, he joined his father Kurataro and a visiting family friend in conversation. Moments later, they heard barking dogs outside. As he had done on numerous evenings before, Zedo picked up the gun from its usual handy place and ran out to try to frighten the dogs away by shooting up in the air. This particular evening, however, the dogs continued to fight, so Zedo tried to part the dogs with the butt end of the gun. He apparently forgot the gun was loaded from the evening before. The gun accidentally discharged. Zedo collapsed from the blast to the left chest.
Hearing an unusual sound following the discharge, his father and the friend rushed out to see what had happened. Awakened by the unusual loud commotion, Susie (Suzuye), his sister, ran ·out only to see her brother lying on the ground with her father hovering over him trying to hear him talk. She joined her father to hear Zedo utter, "Idon't think I'll be able to make it to the Gilbert game tomorrow night so tell Coach Coutchie and the boys to carryon."
By then the rest of the family was awake and came out and helped move Zedo to the family car. Meanwhile, because of phone difficulties, there was some delay in contacting the family doctor. It was decided that Zedo must be driven immediately to St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix. Traveling the zigzag, narrow, and rutted route which at that time led to Phoenix from Mesa, the Ishikawa family was stopped for speeding; then, realizing the seriousness of the situation, the officer gave them police escort to the hospital. Zedo was admitted at 12: 1 0 a.m. Thursday morning. He died at 1: 1 0 a.m. September 22, 1932.
The family, student body, and the whole southside community were in shock. Funeral arrangements were made pending the arrival from Japan of Hatsune Ishikawa, Zedo's mother. The funeral was held in Mesa High School "Old Main" auditoriumgym October 3, 1932.
Mesa played Gilbert that Friday, September 23, and lost 6-0.. In tribute to Zedo Ishikawa, one minute of silence was observed just before the kickoff. A chord by the band was the signal for the audience to stand while both teams and players on the field removed their helmets. Taps was then played by members of the student body. A second silence was observed and then the game whistle was blown. Two more games were lost that season.
The championship faded from view, but a legacy of hope and a group of seasoned regulars would return in the fall of the coming year. Throughout the remainder of the 1932-33 school year, students began repeating from class to class the motto "Carry On." It went from the classroom to the Lettermen's Club and then on to chorus and the faculty. Everyone picked up on the theme.
In order that Mesa High School might have a school song that would be appropriate to sing on every occasion. Mr. Harelson (from the music department) and Mr. Southern (from the English department) wrote the music and words to a school anthem originally entitled "Alma Mater." It was first performed during halftime ceremonies on October 20, 1933. Since then the words to this anthem, now entitled "Carry On," have inspired, motivated, and become the legacy of each graduate of Mesa High School.