May 30—LIMA — Crowds gathered at Gethsemani Cemetery and the Lima Veterans of Foreign Wars parking lot Monday to honor fallen service members, two somber Memorial Day traditions held for military families and the Lima Catholic community to remember the dead.
The VFW Post 1275 hosted its annual wreath-laying ceremony early Monday afternoon, continuing its annual tribute to fallen service members and the sacrifices they made in war.
The sounds of that tribute were overheard at Gethsemani Cemetery, where hundreds of parishioners offered prayers and alternated between singing hymns and patriotic classics like God Bless America, their final prayers punctuated by the sounds of a three-volley salute and Taps.
The Memorial Day-themed Mass marked its 50th year bringing worshippers to the cemetery for a morning of remembering the dead, including fallen service members and parishioners recently buried in the cemetery, whose names were read during mass.
Cars lined the cemetery's walkways, as families made their way to the tent for Mass. Others lingered at the graves of loved ones, now decorated with flowers and flags.
The event mimics Southern and European traditions in which families visit the graves of loved ones for a picnic on days like this, said Father David Ross, director of community engagement for the Lima Central Catholic Foundation and parish administrator for St. Rose and St. John parishes involved in the Memorial Day Mass.
"It's a nice experience for everybody," Ross said. So nice that several of Lima's Catholic parishes have kept the tradition going for 50 years.