NORTH ARLINGTON, N.J. – After a two-year pause due to the pandemic, Catholic cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Newark resumed traditional Memorial Day Mass on Monday.
Their goal is to help offer solace to families of fallen servicemen and women, CBS2’s Leah Mishkin reported.
On a sunny day, inside a tent at Holy Cross cemetery, a group of people came together to pray.
“It’s a day to honor those who died while serving in the armed forces and to recognize and show appreciation for our veterans and active duty members of our military,” said Andrew Schafer, executive director of Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Newark.
Sitting in the crowd, with a tear in her eye, was Armanda Oliveira. Her son Jorge Oliveira was killed in Afghanistan 10 years ago. He was 33.
“We miss, all the family miss him, and friends, everybody miss him so much,” Oliveira said.
She says her son served in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Iraq. He joined the armed forces when he was 18 and then went into the National Guard.
“When they had any problem, he want to go with his men,” Oliveira said. “The last time he said ‘Mommy, it’s the last time I’m going there.’ And it is the last time because a bomb exploded and killed him.”
The mother of three visits his grave on this day every year. Monday, she was here with her daughter and grandkids. Oliveira says it’s not easy, but she’s proud of her son.
“He’s a very happy person. I know he doesn’t want to see me cry, but I cry because I miss him,” Oliveira said.
The Newark resident says she thinks of Jorge every second of every day.
“He had a very good heart. I know he’s here,” she said.
Sue Timoteo says she went to high school with Jorge. She came to bring flowers to her brothers’ gravesite. Humberto Timoteo was killed in Iraq in 2004 when he was 25. She remembers the day like it was yesterday.
“It never goes away. It never fades. These days are a little bit tough to deal with, even though it’s a nice day to start out the summer. It’s always very emotional for the families that have soldiers that passed away,” Timoteo said.
A day to remember. A day to honor. A day to salute our heroes.