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Against a backdrop of a calm lake and two military planes flying overhead, hundreds came out Monday to the Grosse Pointe War Memorial to honor fallen military soldiers for Memorial Day.

The holiday honors those who have given their lives in military service to the United States.

Fallen soldiers from World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War and the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, as well as those who died during meritorious service, were remembered during the 40-minute service at the Grosse Pointe church. It was attended by about 400 Metro Detroiters and others, many of whom were military veterans.

The event featured a gun salute, a lone bagpiper and the reading of the names of 169 Grosse Pointe residents who lost their lives in service to the country.

Pastor Peter J.M. Henry of Grosse Pointe Memorial Church prayed, "May our service men and women know our hearts are raised to them."

The service was about "our fallen  (soldiers) and those who have given full measure in combat," said keynote speaker Major General Michael A. Stone, the commander of the 46th Military Police Command and assistant adjutant general of the Army for the Michigan Army National Guard.

 

Stone recited "In Flanders Field," a famous poem inspired by World War I and written by a Canadian physician. 

Stone thanked military veterans, many of whom attended the Monday event, and urged "those in uniform not to give up the fight" to continue defending the United States from both foreign and domestic enemies.

Cyr Kamga, an active member of the U.S. Army, attended the service with his wife Clarisse. Wearing full uniform, Kamga, a Mount Clemens resident, said he was happy to see veterans honored.

"It's always a time for us," Kamga said following the service. "I remember those who came before us. Freedom isn't free."

Lawrence Gannan,the assistant scout leader for Boys Scout troop No. 96 in Grosse Pointe, supervised the scouts in handing out programs and paper poppies at the event.

Gannan is also a Vietnam Veteran and said the program was touching.

"It's important for people to remember," he said.

His son, Eric, a high school freshman, said he "felt patriotic" taking part in the festivities.

Henry Heatley, an Army veteran who served from 1955-65, was among those who turned out for the Memorial Day service along with his wife, Stella, who served in the British Royal Army.

The Heatleys, Detroit residents, said it's important for Memorial Day to be observed for fallen soldiers because without them most Americans would not have the freedoms they enjoy.

"They gave the ultimate sacrifice," said Norma Housey, looking out over her creation of a white paper labyrinth that featured a soldier's helmet, boots and a symbolic rifle. "They gave their life for our freedom."

Housey's cousin, Debbie Gray, nodded in agreement: "This is the least we could do," Gray said.

bwilliams@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2027

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