On a day on which her son, a fallen Marine, was honored by many, Carol LiCalzi brushed away tears and reflected on her loss.
While the nation celebrates the joy of motherhood Sunday, for LiCalzi, 64, of Westhampton Beach, there will also be pain.
“Mother’s Day is always hard,” she said. “I think about him as a little boy. How brave he was. How brave it was for him to want to take that path.”
It’s been 11 years since 1st Lt. Michael LiCalzi died in Iraq, but Saturday’s charity run in his name proved his sacrifice hasn’t been forgotten.
About 250 people braved the rain and chill to pay their respects by participating in the eighth annual Ace in the Hole Foundation Beach Run & Walk in Lido Beach.
LiCalzi, 24, a surfer and Chaminade High School graduate, died in May 2006 when his tank flipped off a bridge into a canal. He and three others inside drowned.
“Seems like yesterday,” his mother said. “He’s missed so much. He missed his brother’s wedding.”
Greg LiCalzi, 35, of Manhasset said he wonders what it would be like today having his brother around.
“I have a family now with two kids, and I wish he had a family I could enjoy,” he said. “I think about the man he would have become. . . . I think he would have been a great father.”
Organizers said they hoped the 2-mile run would raise $85,000 to support charitable organizations, especially those benefiting Marines and their families.
The foundation hosting the event was named after the slogan used by the Marine 2nd Tank Battalion, in which LiCalzi served as a commander.
Rockville Centre resident Matthew Lombardi, 35, went to school with LiCalzi at Chaminade and has faithfully attended the Lido Beach events.
“It’s the least I can do for a Marine who gave his life for our country and for defending all of us,” he said.
Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino called LiCalzi a “spirited young man who loved his family and friends, and had a passion for the ocean.”