Honoring Our Veterans: 1,800 participate in remembrance of service members Print this post

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

11/22/17

The service men and women who had the courage to go forth to defend freedom were honored and remembered during the eighth annual Diocese of Venice Catholic Mass held at on Veterans Day at Sarasota National Cemetery.

A moment of silence is held garveside at Sarasota National Cemetery following a Veterans Day Mass in Sarasota.

Father Bob Kantor, Pastor of St. Agnes Parish in Naples, Dean of Southern Deanery and a veteran, celebrated the Mass for Bishop Frank J. Dewane, who was unable to attend due to commitment at the meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Father Kantor was joined by more than a dozen priests and several deacons.

About 1,500 people attended the Veterans Day Mass at Sarasota National Cemetery in Sarasota.

Father Kantor, who served as a Chaplain in the U.S. Navy and has been in the Civil Air Patrol (U.S. Air Force Auxiliary) since 1977, spoke about honoring those present at the Mass, those buried nearby, and all veterans whose sacrifice and service to their country helped safeguard the freedoms we enjoy today.

Approximately 1,500 people attended the annual Veterans Day Mass at Sarasota National Cemetery in Sarasota.

“We are here today to pay homage to all of those, who over the years, have served honorably,” Father Kantor said of veterans, those present for the Mass, and including approximately 12,000 who are buried in the National Cemetery. “We have very much in our heart on this day.”

Paul Zielinski (left) and Christopher Reiter attended the Diocese Veterans Day Mass at Sarasota National Cemetery in Sarasota. MOre than 1,400 people attended the Mass and ceremonials.

During the Mass, Father Kantor wore the camouflage chasuble he used while celebrating Mass during active duty in combat zones of both Iraq and Afghanistan.

This is the Mass Kit used by Father Bob Kantor when he served as a Chaplain in the U.S. Navy in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was on display following the Veterans Day Mass at Sarasota National Cemetery.

Adding to the dignity and ceremony of the day were active and retired veterans, as well as the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus who formed a Color Corps and many other Knights who were there to support the veterans.

The “fallen soldier, battle cross,” which included a white cross with dog tags hanging from it, as well as a rifle with its bayonet embedded in the ground, with a helmet poised on top and a pair of empty military boots at the base, was on display following the Veterans Day Mass at Sarasota National Cemetery in Sarasota.

Veterans Day began as an informal celebration to mark the conclusion of World War I, which ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of November 1918. It was designated as a national holiday in 1954 to honor all military men and women who have sacrificed so much in their service to this country.

A bugler plays Taps following a Veterans Day Mass at Sarasota National Cemetery in Sarasota.

The Sarasota National Cemetery celebration concluded with a procession, escorted by the Knights of Columbus Color Corps, to the nearby graves as those in attendance sang “God Bless America.” Priests, deacons, and about 30 members of the Knights of Columbus Color Corps Honor Guard and all present, gathered in silent prayer before “Taps” was played on a bugle. This was followed by the priests singing “Salve Regina.”

To recall the ultimate sacrifice of some soldiers, there was also a “fallen soldier, battle cross,” which included a white cross with dog tags hanging from it, as well as a rifle with its bayonet embedded in the ground, with a helmet poised on top and a pair of empty military boots at the base. Nearby was the Mass Kit used by Father Kantor in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This was the eighth year the Diocese of Venice has coordinated a Catholic Mass at the cemetery with the support of the Knights of Columbus. One of the graves is that of Father Robert G. Tierney, a former assistant at St. Joseph Parish in Bradenton, who served in the U.S. Navy. Father Tierney died in 2006 and was one of the first people buried in the cemetery.

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