MI Casualties of Iraq/Afghanistan Remembered in Ferndale Memorial Day Parade (video)

essentialTOPtempMI candlewickshoppeADblueCasualties of Iraq/Afghanistan Remembered in Ferndale Memorial Day Parade (video)

(Crystal A. Proxmire, May 30, 2016)

Ferndale, MI – Over 200 people marched silently along Woodward Ave, then West 9 Mile, holding signs with pictures of military personnel and the dates of their deaths.  The faces of soldiers, many in their late teens and early 20s, along with their name, their hometown, and what war it was that took their lives, rose into the air above the heads of those marching, forming a sea of signs.

The goal is to have one person marching for every person killed, a visual representation of the loss of life that Michigan has had since 2001.

“We become the witnesses for the guys that were killed and the women and the men – one woman and the rest are all men, 252, they all have a connection to Michigan or they’re serving in a red door club adMichigan military unit in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We become their witnesses so they don’t disappear,” said Larry Saville, one of the organizers for the event.

Anita Jones of Ferndale said carrying signs is her tradition. “My father and uncles were veterans.  The only way we can move towards peace is if people remember the toll of war,” she said.

Saville came up with the idea in 2007 when he saw a Detroit Free Press feature that listed all the deceased and included their pictures.  In a previous article Saville said “I wanted to find a way to share my frustrations in a way that informed people without dividing them. The visual display of all the soldiers is so powerful.”garden01_Jason Muck_ april may 2016

Ferndale boasts the longest running Memorial Day Parade, with 2016 being the 98th year.  Community groups and school bands are among those in procession, as well as children (and adults) with decorated bikes and kids demonstrating martial arts.

Deanne Garrett has been coming to the parade since she was five years old, at a time when Ferndale had a booming population of young families.  “I’ve been coming every year because I grew up here.  I went to school in Ferndale Schools and I taught in Ferndale Schools for 37 years.  For many years it was family and friends and then it got to be my school kids so I would stand on the corner and wave to all my kids.  They’d be in the band or they’d be with Girl Scouts or Brownies or Boy Scouts so it was just fun to see them.  And then the grand kids started coming,” she said.  “This is the first year that my grand kids won’t be here because they got a cottage so they go there now, but it was fun showing them the ropes.”

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For previous stories see:

http://oaklandcounty115.com/2015/05/25/2015-ferndale-memorial-day-parade-photos/

http://oaklandcounty115.com/2014/05/26/ferndale-memorial-day-parade-honors-fallen-soldiers-video/

http://oaklandcounty115.com/2012/06/01/2012-memorial-day-parade/

http://oaklandcounty115.com/2012/05/15/honor-michigans-fallen-in-memorial-day-parade

For more event listings go to http://oaklandcounty115.com/events/

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EDITORS NOTE: Several readers have submitted pictures. Those will be added to this post in the coming days. Thanks!

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