Annual Boots Mass honors, remembers veterans

By Tim Lilley

The Message editor

Veterans George Brunner, left, and Don Gillies approach the altar of St. John the Evangelist Church in Daylight with a pair of G.I. boots and a folded American flag before the start of the June 4 Boots Mass. The Message photos by Tim Lilley

St. John the Evangelist Parish in Daylight welcomed veterans and hosted its annual Boots Mass June 4. As they have in past years, veterans George Brunner and Don Gillies placed a pair of G.I. boots, a folded American flag and a set of dog tags in front of the ambo before Mass began.

In remarks to attendees, Gilles thanked Pastor Father Chris Forler and the parish staff for their assistance in organizing the Boots Mass. He said the display replicated similar displays he and Brunner saw during services they participated while on active duty. He recalled many service men and women, saying, “They were called in the sunrise of their lives, and who never returned; they rest in perpetual springtime, forever young.

Don Gillies, right salutes the flag being held by fellow veteran George Brunner.

“Please let us not forget what they gave for us, and the price they paid.”

Gillies noted that, even today, there are many parts of the world that are not free or at peace. He asked those in attendance to make world peace a daily prayer intention. He added, “The consequences of conflict are not acceptable.

“When you see a flag, say a prayer. When you see a veteran, say a prayer. When you see a cross, say a prayer.”

George Brunner places a set of dog tags around the boots and flag he placed in front of the ambo before the start of the annual Boots Mass.