PLYMOUTH (WWJ) – Memorial Day is for remembrance, and several Metro Detroit communities observed the Monday holiday with ceremonies and parades.
Plymouth’s Memorial Day parade kicked off activities honoring veterans among us — and those no longer with us — for their service to this country.
Vietnam Veteran Rick Balish of Dearborn Heights marches in the Plymouth parade as part of the Vietnam Veterans of America. He said
his roots in the Motor City were seen as a badge of courage by his fellows service members.
“When I was in Nam (the Vietnam War), I was considered … and I know I’ve gotta watch what I’m saying … I was considered the bad ass over there. Because they said you gotta be a bad ass if you loved in Detroit and made it all this time to get over here,” said Balish.
Balish served as a tank driver in ’68 and ’69. And, as bad as the combat was, Balish said he wasn’t expecting to be spit upon and be called a baby killer when he returned stateside.
He said it’s good seeing modern-day veterans get the respect they deserve. ” … It’s great to see, when these guys come in at the airports, and you see everybody lining up clapping for these guys getting off the plane, it’s fantastic.”
Parade Grand Marshal Al Crowley told WWJ Newsradio 950′s Ron Dewey he’s particularly proud of the city’s Memorial Park.
“They have marble columns depicting by size the number of casualties in each of the wars the country has been into,” Crowley explained. ”And World War II and the Civil War, they have giant granite slabs. The other wars, they’re diminished in size because of the reduced casualties.”
Meantime, in Dearborn, a big crowd gathered along Michigan Avenue for the city’s 88th annual Memorial Day Parade.
“It’s nice to see that the people are here, that they’re showing up. Everywhere you go they’re saying thank you for what you do, to the veterans,” said Tom Wilson, the commander of the Dearborn Allied War Veterans Council.
Said Congressman John Dingell, “Look at the wonderful assemblage of patriotic Americans here in Dearborn. This is one of the finest parades you’ll see anywhere.
“We’re celebrating our freedoms, the gift of the veterans that made this possible. And we’re celebrating something else — the privilege of being Americans and the gift that they gave us,” Dingell said.
Cold War veterans were given special recognition as part of the ceremonies. And a horse-drawn caisson carried the remains of four forgotten World War Two veterans who will finally be given a proper burial.
Cold War veterans were given special recognition as part of the ceremonies. And a horse-drawn caisson carried the remains of four forgotten World War II veterans who will finally be given a proper burial.