“There is no greater love than to lay your life on the line,” Monsignor Bendick said in his homily at the funeral Mass for SPC Dale Kridlo.
Dale loved his family, his friends, his community and his country. And, yes, he gave the ultimate sacrifice when he was killed in the line of duty.
Words cannot even express what it was like to see thousands line the streets to pay tribute to our fallen hero.
While standing in the balcony overlooking the funeral Mass, I was overcome with tears.
Watching the daughters of Kridlo proceed pass their father’s casket, retrieve the holy gifts, bring them to the front of the altar, and hand them off to Monsignor Bendick was one of the most touching moments I’ve ever witnessed in my entire life.
While words are tough to come by to explain such a tragic event, Monsignor Bendick came through for the family, friends and the community.
Bendick in his homily even touched on the protest the West Boro Church was planning saying, “Dale wanted to preserve the rights for speech and protest.”
(The protestors never showed)
“With those rights,” he continued, “we sometimes forget about our responsibilities.”
“Words are painful and can damage like a bullet that pierces our flesh,” Bendick continued.
The final part of the Mass was quite powerful as well, when two soldiers in full dress uniform deliberately unfolded the flag and slowly re-laid it across the casket.
Media reports have it that hundreds showed up in front of the church in support of Kridlo.
Well, those reports were wrong. It was more like one to two thousand.
Mike Vogt, Senior Ride Captain of the Patriot Riders gathered the group prior to the procession arrival.
“We’re here as mourners, not protesters,” Vogt said. He continued to say, “Please do not hold signs up because that is a form of protest.”
I never knew Dale Kridlo.
After Wednesday morning, however, I realized he was a friend - a friend to his community, a friend to his country, and most of all, a friend to Greater Pittston and all of NEPA.
Finally, it was a privilege and an honor to witness this outpour of love and support for Dale.
It is something I will hold dear to my heart for the rest of my life.
If any protesters showed, they had to stand no less than 500 feet from church. The city had the streets of Pittston marked.