Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

Memorial Day in Ferndale Michigan is a big deal. Flocks of residents show up for the parade. The route must be almost a mile, and folks stand shoulder to shoulder all along. Others bring chairs and sit back in shady spots, baby strollers parked here and there. Dogs wear Old Glory bandanas and mingle sociably with one another. Kids push toys around on the sidewalk and cry when the confusion and din are too much for them.

The moment is all-American. I feel honored to witness the veterans marching by, old and young, stoic and resolute. I wave to the firemen and police, decked out in their parade uniforms. I feel proud to be a part of it.

After the parade, a solemn ceremony with a rendition of the national anthem and "You're A Grand Old Flag" by the high school marching band; speeches from the mayor, organizers, and local veterans; a twenty one gun salute, flag raising, and "Taps" played by members of the high school marching band wrap up the events.

A local Vietnam veteran, Captain Ken Richardson, US Army, Retired spoke of his service and those he served with. He said, "We do not honor war, we honor those who sacrifice for our country." (I paraphrase the second part, the first part is right, though.) I felt privileged and inspired to hear him speak of his recollections with such equanimity and humility.

Helen Weber, a longtime organizer of the event, read the Honor Roll, which includes the names of Ferndale soldiers lost in conflicts dating back to WW I (I think some are from WW I, the tradition of the Memorial Day ceremony in Ferndale began 94 years ago.)

Here's some pics if you missed the parade in your town: