Royal Oak forms Committee for Memorial and Veterans Events

Royal Oak forms Committee for Memorial and Veterans Events

(Crystal A. Proxmire, June 26, 2018)

Royal Oak, MI- For years the Royal Oak Memorial Society has planned events such as services on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day.

However, that will change now that the City Commission has voted to move all Veterans and Memorial related events under the leadership of the Veterans Events Committee.

The change is “making it a formal city commission and making it a public process so we can take input from all the public, makes it what it’s supposed to be, all of us coming together,” said Commissioner Kyle DuBac.

For the first time, the Veterans Events Committee (then called the Memorial Day Community Parade Committee) organized this year’s Memorial Day Parade and service, which did not have many differences from services in the past.  However one change was distinct.  The Girl Scouts were able to participate in the flag ceremony along with the Boy Scouts.

Commissioner Patricia Paruch welcomed the change in leadership, stating there had been “complaints about the way services were put together,” and that “people felt excluded.”

“It was very narrow in terms of the types of people it would recognize and not recognize.” Paruch said.  “They had been doing it fine for a long time, but it was time to move it into the 21st century.”

In addition to the perception of being exclusionary, the Royal Oak Memorial Society never maintained minutes and did not make meetings open to the public. With a committee accountable to the Commission, members will be appointed by elected officials, minutes will be kept, and there will be more opportunities for public involvement.

“Our Veterans are of the public, serving the public,” said Mayor Michael Fournier.  “This is for all Veterans, no matter what their race is, no matter what their gender is.”

The ordinance to codify the Committee and its responsibilities passed on the first reading with two dissenting votes. Commissioners Kim Gibbs and Randy LeVasseur voted no.  There will be a second reading of the ordinance at an upcoming Commission meeting before being formally adopted.

The Committee will organize Memorial Day and Veterans Day events, including the Memorial Day Parade and the RUCK March on Veterans Day which brings attention to suicide deaths of members of the armed services and veterans.

Two members of the Royal Oak Memorial Society were contacted but did not respond to request for comment. This article will be updated if there is a reply.

Those who want to volunteer for this and other Committees may apply on the City of Royal Oak website.

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