A Morning Of Remembrance At St Rose Cemetery
Led by St Rose Knights of Columbus Color Corps Commander Kirk Babyak and Faithful Navigator Len Moritz, members of the 4th Degree Knights of Columbus, Monsignor Robert Weiss, US Army Private first class Matt Rahtelli, and Knights of Columbus member Patrick Burke solemnly filed along a pathway at St Rose Cemetery in Sandy Hook, early Memorial Day, May 27, to line up at the St Rose Veterans Memorial. There, Private First Class Rahtelli, home on leave, laid a wreath to honor all veterans.
Prior to the ceremony, Pfc Rahtelli said that laying the wreath was a special honor, as the creation of the St Rose Veterans Memorial had been his Eagle Scout project in 2013.
“It is very cool... My vision way back then was to make the memorial for all the St Rose parishioners,” he said, reiterating the honor he felt to have been in town and be invited to place the wreath that morning. He later added, “... this is the first year I have been able to participate in the ceremony after graduating from Army basic training last year. I am very proud to wear the uniform today for all those who no longer can, especially for those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”
Msgr Weiss and Mr Burke then led the Knights and a number of St Rose parishioners and local residents in attendance in a service of remembrance for fallen veterans.
“Today, we gather to thank God for each one of them,” Msgr Weiss said in his opening remarks, later reminding all through prayer that, “Neither death nor life... no things to come can separate us from the love of God...” His reading of Psalm 23 ended in prayer as well, asking “Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord... Rest in peace,” for those veterans remembered on Memorial Day.
Msgr Weiss also noted the “valor and power” of those who have served and sacrificed their lives, and he observed the many graves of veterans marked by small flags.
“So many veterans in this one small, country cemetery. Today,” he remarked, “is truly a day of remembrance.”
Mr Burke, a Vietnam veteran, also directed attention to the small flags, saying that they serve as a “symbol of remembrance.” The heroism, sacrifice, and patriotism of the deceased servicepeople, he said, “Remind us of what is best in ourselves.”
The Knights of Columbus members taking part in the May 27 ceremony were Patrick Barczak, Rob Hawley, Jeff Leja (Grand Knight) Chris Locke, Steve Lucas, Larry Rice, Jeff Leja, and Stephen Schumacher.
In closing, those in attendance were invited to take small flags provided by the Knights to place at any veteran’s gravesite not already decorated with a flag.