Thank you to all who came out to show their respect for all of our veterans, and especially for those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Giving one’s life for a just cause is going above and beyond the call of duty…giving your life for freedom is heavenly. A special thanks goes out to the owner’s of Calumet Park (yes, privately owned and proud of it), all the grounds crew, the family service department and to the administrative departments. It took a team effort to make Calumet Park Cemetery look so beautiful and a great deal of planning and execution for the weekend to go so smoothly. We received nothing but compliments from the thousands who entered these hallowed gates during the past three days. God gave us a weekend of wonderful weather, and your showing up made it a successful weekend of remembering.
Tag Archives: memorial weekend
There are men and women from these great United States serving in the armed forces today who will need to be remembered for having given up their lives when this holiday rolls around again this weekend. And sadly, as long as there are evil, crazy, power-hungry people habiting the planet, soldiers will die. How many of our fine young men and women have to be killed before peace can truly erupt around the world?
There was a song out when I was young entitled “Where have all the flowers gone?” by the Kingston Trio. It had a very repetitive beat played beneath a poem that I only now realize was probably meant to be that way as the story is the same today as it was when it first hit the charts.
Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the flowers gone?
Gone to young girls, every one!
When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?
The next verse changed to young men, then soldiers, then graveyards until the graveyards went back to flowers…”and the beat goes on, and the beat goes on” sang Sonny and Cher. Vietnam, the Middle East and hopefully never… but looking scarier and scarier…Korea.
In cemeteries across the nation flowers will be planted and placed next to flags on the graves of so many innocent and lost souls. I believe the fallen soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and women and reserves who gave their all are all in heaven as they gave their last breath for our freedom. That is a wonderful thought, and one day we will meet again.
However, in the middle of the night, when a parent or spouse or son or daughter finds they cannot sleep over their loss, heaven is far away. They need strength now…today…tonight, when they are alone with their thoughts. All the hopes and dreams and plans and fun, the tears and laughter that can no longer be shared with their guy or gal who died bleeding red, white and blue, they are the truly forgotten ones.
So, in this small space on the internet, I offer my prayers and the prayers of so many for all who have been left behind. God is good and all-knowing and always present which means some of our prayer energy needs to be offered for understanding and faith. I pray that a child can move though life with one parent gone forever, while a piece of the remaining parent does their best to do their best in all things. A wife or husband who hugged their honey goodbye and finds they will never be together again lives a pain that others who did not suffer such a loss will never know.
So, God…in Jesus name, I pray that you will give strength to those who are truly vested in Memorial Day. I pray that you will shelter them with your love. I pray that you will help them in their most alone moments as they live in but a shadow of their “coupled” life. I pray that you help them through this life, and that you accept their pain as their penance and forgive them if they may turn from you a little. I pray, God that you let them remember all the great times with their lost loves, and to cherish the little moments that brought them together in the first place. Thank you God, for the beauty that you will bless them with in the days ahead, and let their remaining time here on earth be lived in honor of their fallen soldier. Finally, I pray that you help mankind find a way to discontinue adding to the rolls of those we salute on Memorial Day. Amen
Come to our free fireworks show on next Saturday night at around 7:00 (May 27) at Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville. Call 769-8803 for directions and visit our webside for more info at calumetparkcemetery.com
I was finishing up a hot, salted pretzel with melted cheese at Subway recently. My wife was doing some shopping at Walmart, and I was along for the ride. But the salted, baked dough drew me away from the sock isle, so God bless the little things in life. That is when he came in. And that is when I learned a little about prejudging people without knowing anything about them except how they look.
As I dipped my last piece of pretzel in the cheese, a man came into the Subway space. His hair was not so long as it was frazzled…windblown in a not so attractive way. His beard appeared to be a blotchy three day growth and his mustache was long and drooping over his mouth. He had on a camouflage shirt and sweat pants with no-name gym shoes on. If I had to guess his age, he might have been anywhere between 60 to 70 years old.
In an instant, he pulled a chair right up to the counter and sat down right in front of the register. He stared at the teenage girl working the counter that evening for what was to me an uncomfortable amount of time. The first thing that came to my mind was “What the….?” As in many trips to Walmart, I felt I was going to see something that I never saw before so I cupped my ear to better hear where this was going, if and when he should speak. I was seated about 10 feet from the action and was ready to rescue the girl if things went bad.
Of course, with my own aged knees, it would have taken me some time to leap into action, but that is another story. Sixty-eight year old legs do not respond quickly to messages from the brain. It was then that he bent down, pulled up his left pant leg, and removed his artificial limb. He rubbed the stump for a minute or two, then put the leg (from the knee down) back on, returned his pant leg back into place, stood up, and pulled a note from his pocket.
I was embarrassed by my quick reaction that trouble just sat down. He spoke softly, slowly, and almost bashfully as he placed his order for four foot-longs. Reading from the note, he completed his order. I was into the moment by this time, and I approached him. Politely I told him I saw that he lost a limb, and asked if he would mind sharing what happened to him. Keep in mind that I have never gone up to a stranger and asked such personal questions before, but I was drawn to this man.
His answer hit me in the gut. I am sure that my face got red as my own emotions regarding his answer brought up some long suppressed memories of my own. “Lost it in Viet Nam,” he answered simply. Just then the teen rang up his order and asked how he wanted to pay for it. I told her that I would get it which opened up a small debate between myself and the stranger. I said it was the least I could do as he paid so much on the battlefield. I won the argument as I told him that I spent a couple of tours in Nam myself. He was a marine and we joked about who needed who the most…the marines needing the Special Forces or vice versa.
After we talked about when, and where and the why’s of how we spent our time so many years ago in a jungle on the other side of the world, I found out that he was my age, was a “region rat”, now lived in Vegas and liked to come back to NW Indiana once a year to go fishing and visit with old friends. I thanked him for his service and he turned and started to walk away. I sat back down and finished my cold drink, lost in thought.
It was shortly after that I felt someone standing beside me on my blind side. I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to see this walking-wounded veteran looking down at me. I no longer saw the mismatched clothes, or the straggly hair or the answer to my “what the?” from minutes before. I saw clarity in his eyes and a smile. His hand was outstretched waiting for a traditional handshake. I extended my hand and he spoke softly, slowly and clearly.
“Thanks for the sandwiches. It has been 45 years since I got home and you are the first person who has ever done anything like this for me. Just wanted you to know that meeting you was special.” I could barely hold back my own tears and mumbled “no problem, sir” as we both felt a little weird, but in a good way. He turned and walked away, and I spotted my wife at the checkout counter. She asked who was the guy I was talking with since she knows I am not a talk-to-strangers kind of person.
So, what is the point, Dan? The point is that Memorial Weekend will soon be upon us. The point is not a stranger buying a stranger a sandwich. The point is that there are so many walking wounded men and women that cross all of our paths every day who wore the uniform of the U.S. armed forces. Much of their pain and injuries are mental. It is easy to see a man’s artificial limb in one hand while massaging a stump of a leg with the other and think, “Oh, let me buy him a sandwich”. What about all the survivors who have been in all the wars we have been involved in that walk around each day struggling to just maintain. There are ghosts that fill the dreams of so many, ghosts of horrors that few can ever comprehend unless you too walked in their shoes.
Memorial Weekend is a time to honor these people. To realize and appreciate the sacrifices that they and their families made to keep us safe and free. Whether one’s leg is torn away in a firefight in the jungles of Vietnam, or a soul is twisted and crushed from man’s inhumanity to man during times of combat in the Mideast, men and women come home from war changed. They need love and patience and understanding and space. They need to be acknowledged, even if only on Veteran’s Day or Memorial Weekend. It is in the power of every person that reads this story to buy a sandwich for a vet, or cut the grass for an old timer who helped to secure your rights as a U.S. citizen…and say thanks.
Nobody who has seen the things our military has seen, or been called upon to do the things that they are called upon to do should ever sit alone and wonder what it was all for. Oh, we will be embarrassed when you say thanks for your service…we will not want you to buy us lunch…we will try to refuse your help even though it may truly be needed. Extend yourself, and appreciate those brave men and women who have given so much. A good place to start is visiting Calumet Park cemetery over Memorial Weekend. Find time to share an hour of your life in showing you care. The official Memorial Day Service at Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville will be May 28 at 1:00 p.m. Invite your friends and take the opportunity to show you care.
Call 219-769-8803 for information on prearranging for your cemetery and funeral needs
Another successful Memorial Weekend is now part of history. Thousands of families visited the cemetery over the long weekend. Many planted flowers and all showed respect for the sacrifices made by their uniformed loved ones that gave their lives for our freedom. There were a number of services conducted by different religious denominations as honor was paid to all those who have passed on, whether military or civilian. Blessings to all who entered the gates of Calumet Park and for all those whose hearts were here but were physically unable to visit their loved one’s graves.
A special thanks to all the folks who worked so hard to make the cemetery a place that welcomes visitors. Remember us next year as we have had bigger and bigger crowds attend our free fireworks, lantern release, horse drawn carriage and hayride evening of fun as part of the Memorial Day ceremonies.
For information about pre-planning, or to have any questions answered, call 219-769-8803 or visit our website at calumetparkcemetery.com
By Laura Conant, freelance writer for Calumet Park Cemetery
What does Memorial Day mean to you? Is it the big sales at your favorite stores, having a four-day weekend, or being caught up in all the details of the big party you are throwing for the beginning of summer? Please take a moment to say a prayer and give thanks to the men and women of our military that have lost their lives because they were keeping us safe. Our military is made up of sons and daughters, fiancé’s, husbands, wives, and even some grandmothers and grandfathers. Each one of them is a beloved person to someone.
My experience comes from my fiancée’s death in Afghanistan 2009. I still think of him daily. Before their deaths many experienced horrible physical conditions, human brutality on an unimaginable scale, and a severe loneliness brought on by being separated from loved ones for extended periods of time. So many are affected by the horrible things they must do to survive in a war zone. Just as many are severely affected by the things they are not allowed to do to ease the suffering of the general populace.
Many are redeployed to these hellholes five or more times. Were you aware that 22 veterans a day, A DAY, commit suicide? They have been killed by the war just as surely as someone shot on the battlefield, or blown up by an IED. Our military sacrifice much for us and continue to do so even when they are no longer active duty.
So please, on this Memorial Day, take a moment to honor those who have died; and thank a veteran who is living, for their sacrifices. Semper Fi Chris.
The flag that stands for freedom,
Shouts loud for all to hear…
“We are the good old U.S.A.,
the land we hold so dear.”
The boys and girls who dressed the part,
Aged beyond compare
when they hit the shores of Normandy
or places ‘over there’.
Men and women served with pride,
At home or overseas…
All sacrificed their days of youth
So we could all be free.
And others, please remember,
Have never returned home.
Their souls to God, their blood to soil,
Their families left alone.
At Cal Park, we thank them all,
and understand their plight.
Peace the goal, but because of them
the world still fears our might.
The uniform that makes us one,
from Army to Marines…
and Navy, Air Force and the Guard,
brings peace by any means.
To all veterans and their families, Calumet Park Cemetery and affiliates salute you.
Join us this Memorial Weekend in our show of appreciation for all who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
For more info on the weekend, see our Newsletter on this blog or call 219-769-8803.
Memorial Weekend is soon to be upon us once again. As I sit here thinking about what would make for an interesting article, I am interrupted many times by co-workers as they go about their business of helping families, and quite often the first thing from my mouth is “What did you say?”
With Google at my fingertips, I found out that the loudest sound possible is 194dB (decibels), and that means nothing until you compare familiar sounds and how the decibels stack up. For instance, normal conversation comes in at 60-65dB. A power mower registers 107dB while loud rock concerts attack our eardrums at 115dB. A jet engine? At 100 feet, the decibel rating is 140dB. Starting at 0 dB, a sound 10 times more powerful is 10dB. 20dB is 100 times more powerful than total silence, 30dB a 1,000 times louder than absolute silence etc. Put into proper perspective, a jet engine is a trillion times more powerful than 0 dB. A single shot from a .357 magnum hits 165dB for 2 milliseconds. According to those who measure such things, that is the equivalent of 40 hours exposure in a noisy workplace.
The point to all of these numbers is to offer a different perspective to the effects of war on veterans, and on our current uniformed heroes serving in all corners of the globe. How is this for exposure to dangerous noise levels? An M16 from the Vietnam war comes in at 156dB, a Howitzer at 189dB and a claymore mine at 146dB.
We have seen war movies, from Here to Eternity to Saving Private Ryan to Deer Hunter to The Green Berets. These films are visually engrossing and graphic in their depiction of war. They are loud, with some “war type” movies averaging 80-90dB with the occasional 120dB snuck in past the regulators.
Blah, blah, blah…come on Dan, you are losing me here!
Real life war is nothing like the movies. Real life war, and in particular, real life battle scenes, do not have a starting time and an ending time. Real life war rips apart bodies. Real life war kills…it kills bodies and it kills minds. The sounds of war haunt those who fought every bit as much as the images burnt into their brains. The explosions and gunfire and bombs and crackling of napalm sear images and impulses into the very heart of survivors that never go away. To see a broken and torn body is horrific, but just as horrific is the screaming of a buddy…the begging for help…the cries for relief from the pain.
Sound is essential to the success of any kind of movie. The music tracks, the street sounds, the screeching of tires and busted glass, or a baby’s first cry – all add to the experience. How many times have you been taken back to a time in your life, good or bad, by the triggering melody of a particular song?
My point to this article and to the semi-scientific comparison of decibels is a plea for patience when talking with war vets. It is possible that some of those tremendously loud days caused deterioration in one’s ability to hear. So when Dad or Granddad, or Brother or Sister says “What?” forgive them. We don’t like to have to ask what you said any more than you want to repeat yourself. When they turn the TV up louder than you may like, it is not to annoy you but to let them hear dialogue.
A song can cause memory flashbacks to all of us. To those who spent time in a real battle of survival, whether in the jungles of Vietnam, the mountains of Korea, the bombed out cities of Europe or in the desserts of the mid-East, a simple firecracker can stir up emotions that they tried to spend years burying deep in the recesses of their minds. A cry for help when you cannot help burns itself into one’s soul. And when the plea is loud enough to be heard over, not one, but dozens and sometimes hundreds of M16’s and AK47’s and grenades and mortars pounding all around you, well….you can only imagine.
Real life battles do not end with popcorn boxes at your feet, empty soda cups, and credits rolling on a screen as the lights slowly come on. Real life battles end when everyone is dead or captured, or when you run out of ammunition and you disappear back into the jungle or the cityscape. And even then, even for those still standing with nary a scratch, their wounds of the heart and mind scar so deeply that only a final breath somewhere in their future can offer real relief.
By way, it’s the incoming that you don’t hear that tends to kill you!
If you are still reading this article, it was meant to cause you to be a little uncomfortable. I once read a quote that for those who fight for it; freedom has a flavor that the protected will never know. Almost every family has a vet as a relative, or knows a family who has been touched by war. As peace loving as we are in America, there have not been too many years in our short history that did not include someone shooting someone someplace. So, my real purpose for writing today is to set you to thinking when you are having your hot dogs, and going to the beach, and having family picnics when Memorial Weekend officially opens the summer season.
What I would really love to see is a sacrifice from every family of giving up one hour over the upcoming long weekend to come to Calumet Park Cemetery on May 24th at 1:00 when Calumet Park joins with the American Legion 1st District as we honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. See you there. Call 219-769-8803 for details.
If you are looking for a fun, free evening with the kids, or if you just like fireworks, come out to the cemetery at 7:00 on Saturday night, May 24. You will get a close-up look at our new Harley Hearse and see the horse-drawn carriage from hoof-n-harness out of Jasper County. The evening is a guaranteed couple of hours of fun and relaxation. There will be hayrides and maybe a surprise or two.
Calumet Park Cemetery is located at the corner of Taft and 73rd in Merrillville. To go to the fireworks show, drive west past the main entrance to the cemetery for about a quarter mile and turn right into the cemetery. You will be directed as to where to park. This event will not disturb any graves spaces and is done as a way to honor all veterans who have given so much for this nation. Think of the verse: and the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night, that our flag was still there. The Star Spangled Banner waves because of the dedication of our country’s men and women in uniform. And we thank each and every one who ever donned the uniform, or stayed behind and sacrificed so much for so many.
For more info, call 218-769-8803
Click on any photo for an enlarged view.
Thank you to all those who came out to the cemetery on Sunday, May 27 to participate in the 2013 Calumet Park Cemetery tribute to this nation’s finest men and women…our American veterans! A big thank you also should be given to all those wonderful men and women who gave of their time and energy to provide the community with this annual tribute.
For information on the many veteran benefits provided by Calumet Park Cemetery, check out some of the many posts in this facebook (mycalumetpark), go to calumetparkcemetery.com or call 219-769-8803.