HAMMOND | “Death leaves a heartache that no one can heal. Love leaves a memory that no one can steal.”
Quoting that anonymous poetic line, the Rev. John Kalicky, of Whiting’s St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, told those attending Monday’s Memorial Day Field Mass at St. John/St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery that memories and love connect the past, present and future.
“This is holy ground,” he said about the cemetery. “It is ground made holy not by death, but by the memory of lives lived, the memories of loved ones who touched our lives.”
But, it’s not enough to remember once a year on Memorial Day, Kalicky said.
“There is a danger in this fast-moving and rapidly changing world that we will forget to look to the past for wisdom,” he said.
In addition to honoring those who have given their lives in defense of American freedoms, Kalicky asked God for “healing for veterans who have been wounded body and soul” and for “the thousands of men and women who are returning from war now with injured bodies and traumatized spirits.”
He also asked blessings on military personnel who serve in noncombat posts.
From members of the Greatest Generation to months-old infants, more than 100 people gathered for the Service to God and Country: Salute to Our Heroes Mass co-celebrated with Kalicky by six additional priests from Hammond, East Chicago and Whiting parishes.
Cold damp air left from morning showers whipped through the open-air tent, snapping flags and ruffling sheet music held by the choir from St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.
However, nothing dampened the spirits of the participants who included the Band of Brothers Pipes & Drums corps, which played “Amazing Grace,” “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America” to rounds of applause.
As the service ended, many attendees walked to the nearby graves of loved ones.