Once again, the Cranford Knights of Columbus honored Father Charles Watters with a float in the Memorial Day parade. The float featured a re-creation of Fr. Watters and the soldiers celebrating Mass together in the midst of the Vietnam War.
This moving tribute honors Fr. Watters, who served at St. Michael’s as a Parochial Vicar from 1964-5. Father Watters later served as a Chaplain in the U.S. Army. In 1967 he died in Vietnam while rescuing wounded soldiers from enemy fire. For his bravery and selflessness he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. A memorial to Father Watters is featured in front of the Church, in tribute to his heroism.
We thank the Knights for remembering him and reminding our community of his selfless dedication to his fellow soldiers and to God.
Tributes from fellow soldiers who served alongside Watters include the following:
From Larry Dacunto
“Fr Watters first served with 1st Battalion, 503d infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade, where we loved his style, especially when he went through Prop-blast. We were sorry to have him transferred to another battalion within the Brigade. But he obviously had a call there, as witnessed by his heroism. When it came down to demonstrating his courage and his faith, he set the example which can never be surpassed. Better love hath no man, than to lay down his life for another. God Bless You, Fadda!”
From Johnny W. Berry
“My name is John Berry. It is my high honor to have known Father Watters. I was not Catholic but went to his services on occasion. He usually was in his typical east coast fast talk mode. … As D Company RTO with my friend and bro Robert Flemming, we saw Father Watters coming from the very front lines of the battle. As he passed by we asked him where his helmet was. His reply was "I carry my protection a little higher". With that, he was off to attend the wounded. That was the last time I saw him. God bless you Father Watters, as we have been blessed in having known you.”
You can find a detailed biography on Fr. Watters at http://www.modernamericanheroes.com/tag/fr-charles-watters/