September 30, 2005

Blue Mass honors police officers
and firefighters

By Mary Ann Wyand

Indianapolis-area police officers and firefighters gathered at Calvary Cemetery in Indianapolis on Sept. 13 to remember public safety officials who have died in the line of duty in recent years.

“Let us remember in prayer those public servants buried here and all those who gave their lives on 9-11,” Msgr. Joseph F. Schaedel, vicar general, said during the memorial service.

“Let’s remember those [people] who have given their lives in the [Hurricane] Katrina disaster,” he said, “and let’s remember all those [in the military] who have fallen during their time of service to our country and to their fellow men and women.”

After the Mass at the cemetery mausoleum and a prayer service at the public servants section of the Catholic cemetery, Marion County Sheriff Frank Anderson of Indianapolis said “it’s unfortunate that it took something like 9-11 to really bring to the forefront how the firefighters and the police officers serve the public.”

Sheriff Anderson said police officers and firefighters are dedicated to helping people in need even if it means risking their own lives.

“It’s one of the very few jobs that you sign a contract and you put your life on the line for collateral,” he said. “Certainly, all those who have gone before us have served their contract and done it with dignity.”

The sheriff said public service to the community “never ends” for police

officers and firefighters.

“Even in their own personal suffering, they reach out to serve and protect others,” he said. “That’s the way we do it. When we raise our hand and we take that oath, we don’t think about ourselves. We are continuously thinking about others, and that’s why we are willing to give up our life if it calls for that to do what we’re supposed to do to serve and protect.”

Indianapolis Fire Department Lt. Stephan Hall played the trumpet for the solemn memorial service at the public safety section of the cemetery.

“It’s the least that I can do,” Hall said of his musical participation in the prayer service.

“They have given a whole lot more than me,” he said of firefighters and police officers who gave up their lives in the line of duty. “It is indeed an honor to be able to do that for them.”

Hall said he has relatives who live near the Gulf Coast and elsewhere in Mississippi who survived Hurricane Katrina by evacuating the area before the storm made landfall.

“They lost property,” he said, “but that’s all replaceable stuff. Their lives are not. They’re all OK. We were very blessed in that respect.

“[Indiana] Task Force One has a lot of Indianapolis firefighters on it,” Hall said, “and I was very proud of the job that they did down there. It’s good to know that they can respond, and give that aid and assistance wherever they’re needed. That really makes me feel very proud of them.” †


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