Led by the Arthur J. Corr Assembly Knights of Columbus Color Corps, the Harp and Thistle Bagpipers and the United States Marine Corps League of Naples, a Mass of remembrance was celebrated by Fr. Len on Monday, May 28th at 8:30 a.m.
Prelude music consisting of America the Beautiful and the theme from “The Band of Brothers” was played by Pastoral Musician and Liturgist Garry Prettyman, accompanied by Artistic Director Jennine Fuentes and the St. John Choir. The Marine Corps League of Naples, following bagpiper Don Goller, posted the colors to the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the singing of our National Anthem.
In his homily, Fr. Len asked the assembled parishioners to make peace with one another. “How can we expect peace between nations, when we will not forgive each other” he said. Fr Len also heaped praise on those who paid the ultimate price for the freedom that we enjoy today.
In his remarks, Tom Middlemiss read the names of those who were killed in action from the families of St. John. He also read part of a piece written by former U.S. Navy Seal Robb O’Neill in which he stated, “Memorial Day is not a celebration, it is a time for reflection, pause, remembrance and thanksgiving for patriots who gave up their own lives to protect the lives and freedom of us all – including the freedom of generations long gone and generations yet unborn.” “We owe them a debt so enormous that it can never be repaid.”
Tom also told the assembled about about the heroes who are buried in 16 foreign countries and our wars have claimed the lives of more that 1.1 million American servicemen and women in uniform.
He also spoke about a U.S. Sailor named Charles Leo O’Connor, whose ship, the USS Mont Vernon, was torpedoed by a German U-Boat on September 5,1918 during WWI. O’Connor, though badly burned and crippled by the blast, managed to close a watertight door and save not only many of his shipmates, but his actions helped save the ship.
He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and the great honor of being a Body Bearer for the Unknown Soldier.
Following Mass, the congregation moved to the “Lest we Forget Statue” where Fr. Len blessed it. The Marine Corps rifle squad fire a three round volley and taps were played, followed by the bagpipers playing Amazing Grace and the placing of the Memorial Wreath.
God Bless America.