CHICAGO — A special Sunday mass at the Gold Star Families Memorial and Park Sunday honored fathers whose names are inscribed on the memorial's walls.
On a day dedicated to dad, the message of service both to family and community came together as the Chicago Police Department held mass at the memorial. The department returns there every year to pay a special tribute to those who’ve fallen while serving the City of Chicago.
Phil Cline, former CPD superintendant and current head of the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, knows firsthand how important it is to remember the officers on the wall, whose families still visit today.
"There’s 585 names of Chicago police officers on the wall there, a lot of them were fathers and they left behind families and they can’t be here today," Cline said. "The Gold Star families, that’s a group that nobody wanted to join and yet circumstances put them there... It’s good for them to talk to other Gold Star families."
Among them, two of the most recent names added to the wall are Officers Edwardo Marmolejo and Conrad Gary. The two officers died on duty while searching for a suspect on the South Shore train tracks in December.
"Certainly every time a father, a husband goes off to work at CPD officer… families are left behind to worry and to pray," Chicago Police Department Chaplain Father Dan Brant said. "Today we join them in prayer."
Together they offer prayers in the name of all those with the title of officer, and on Father's Day, whose who hold the even more significant title of Dad.