Military pall bearers carry a casket with the cremains of three Dearborn soldiers killed in action in World War I and the Vietnam War, during ceremonies preceding the city’s annual Memorial Day Parade May 30. The parade honored the 69 Dearborn soldiers who were killed in the Vietnam War as 2011 marked the 50th anniversary of the start of the war.
By DANIEL HERATY
DEARBORN – The 69 Dearborn men who died serving in the Vietnam War were remembered for their service during the city’s Memorial Day Parade May 30.
The theme of the parade this year was the Vietnam War, since 2011 marks the 50th anniversary of the conflict. Organized by the Dearborn Allied War Veterans Council, the theme is meant as a tribute to those who served in the war, but did not get a proper welcome home.
City officials invited 140 of their family members from across the country to participate in the parade. Some rode in vehicles while others sat in specially designated bleachers along the parade route on Michigan Avenue. Members of various military and community groups marched in honor of the soldiers and carried photos of fallen soldiers.
The parade began at 9:30 a.m. with a funeral procession for three soldiers who died in combat – including one from World War I – but were not buried because their families could not afford it then.
State Rep. George Darany (D-Dearborn) and U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-Dearborn) also participated in the parade. City Councilmen Mark Shooshanian, Brian O’Donnell, Robert Abraham and Thomas Tafelski also marched in the parade, as did Mayor John O’Reilly Jr.
Lisa Lark, an English teacher at Edsel Ford High School, worked on the list of deceased soldiers since June 2010, and said that it has been an unforgettable experience.
“It has been my honor and privilege to have the families of these men share their lives and stories with me,” she said in a statement. Christopher Borowski, from Belleville, was there to remember his father, Raymond, who was killed in 1967 when a cable attached to a medical emergency helicopter, which was attempting to transport him out of a combat zone, snapped.
Raymond Borowski was a medic with the 4th Infantry Division and did not have to serve, his son said, but chose to anyway.
“He was older — he was 32 — and he heard they were losing medics, so he volunteered,” he said. “I think it’s an honor that they invited every family that lost a family member.”
Jack Cooper, a Vietnam veteran and resident of Dearborn, said that anything that can be done to help veterans is a good thing. He said that the honor for those who served in Vietnam is overdue, and he credited the Gulf War with bringing to light what the soldiers go through in combat.
(Daniel Heraty can be reached at [email protected].)