Dearborn’s Memorial Day parade a family affair

Nicquel Terry
The Detroit News

Dearborn — Patriotic tunes, fire trucks’ sirens blaring and children waving American flags set the scene along Michigan Avenue on Memorial Day.

Mehdi Asaad salutes as the Marines go by during the 93rd Memorial Day Parade and Remembrance Service in Dearborn on Monday. The parade’s theme was “women in the military” to honor the contributions and advancements of women serving in the armed forces.

Marchers took the streets to honor those who died while serving in the country’s armed services.

It was the 93rd year for the Dearborn Memorial Parade — the oldest continuous parade in Michigan. The parade is organized each year by the Dearborn Allied War Veterans Council and the city of Dearborn.

“These parades always break my heart,” said Elsa Jarosz of Wyandotte as she watched from the sidewalk. “Especially now, I think our country is so divided. And I’m tired of war.”

More than 60 marching groups, including school bands, participated in the parade along with hundreds of veterans.

The parade’s theme was women in the military to honor the contributions and advancements of women serving in the armed forces.

“Right now, women are serving side by side with their male counterparts,” said Dearborn Allied War Veterans Council Commander Stephen Fletcher in a statement. “Recognizing women this year also brings to light the opportunities that are available to them — college, leadership positions, pilots and a slew of other jobs.”

The grand marshal for the parade was Coast Guard Rear Adm. June E. Ryan.

Many families make it an annual tradition to attend the parade together.

Rosina Zeolla of Dearborn Heights said she enjoys watching the groups and bands performing along the parade route. She was honoring her father, a war veteran, and supporting her granddaughter who marched in the parade.

‘Labor of love’ keeps flags whole for fallen

“It’s important to come out,” Zeolla said. “They put a lot of work into the parade, so it’s nice to see it.”

Dozens of local organizations had floats in the parade, which ended at Henry Ford Centennial Library.

Dearborn Elks members walk alongside a red pickup truck with American flags that played “America the Beautiful.”

“This is the best parade ever,” said Joann Rodwell, an Elks member. “To show our support for the people that have died for us and those who are still serving.”

Dearborn’s 19th District Judge Gene Hunt was among the veterans who walked in the parade. Hunt said he served in the Marine Corps from 1974-76.

“Veterans have done a lot for this country and everybody knows that,” Hunt said.

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