DEARBORN (WWJ) – Thousands of people lined Michigan Ave. on Monday to take in the 90th Annual Dearborn Memorial Day Parade — one of the largest in the nation.
Dearborn resident Joe Chavsky and his wife were among those waving American flags and cheering on the marchers.
“(It’s) exciting, yeah. I’m a Korean vet,” Chavsky told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Ron Dewey. “Every year we’re out here, and it just means so much.”
Added Pat Chavsky, “We celebrate for the right reason: our comrades that are fallen, that are still with us, that have made our country free.”
While the parade traditional honors troops who served in wars past, veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan were encouraged to march this year as part of a day-long tribute to the modern soldier.
The VA Hospital scandal was on the top of one veteran’s mind as he watched the parade go by, alongside his wife Maryann, Navy veteran Joe Provo of Detroit said it’s been an ongoing problem that needs to be handled.
“They do OK, I guess, as far as purchasing prescriptions and stuff — they get that at a reduced price. But these waiting periods… it’s too bad,” Provo said.
Provo, who was drafted in the late 1950s, said he does have some good memories of his time serving his country.
“Going overseas, I guess, and being out at sea…and absolutely, the food,” Provo said. “You see, aboard a destroyer you ate pretty good compared to some of the bigger ships.”
This year’s parade was preceded by a military funeral procession, with the remains of seven American servicemen who never had the proper burial for a variety of reasons: no family, no money for expenses, no accounting for whereabouts. This included one serviceman whose remains were left unaccounted for 78 years.
Craig Tillman, who oversees homeless veterans affairs for the American Legion in Michigan says it’s bittersweet, seeing something happen that should have been handled a long time ago.
“This should never have happened…never,” Tillman said. “But… it’s a good thing that the American Legions and the VFWs and other veteran organizations are doing this, and getting these men and women off the shelves.” (More on this HERE).
The seven servicemen will be interred at the Great Lakes Veterans Cemetery in Holly at the end of the week.