95th annual parade highlights those who have lost loved ones during military service
DEARBORN – At 10 a.m. on Monday, May 27, one of the largest Memorial Day parades in the United States and the oldest continuous parade in Michigan at year 95 begins.
This year’s parade theme is “Gold Star Families,” recognizing the families who lost a loved one who was actively serving in the military. Speaking at the event as grand marshal will be Gold Star father Dan Robinson, who tragically lost his son Heath, a highly-decorated Navy SEAL, on Aug. 6, 2011.
The parade is organized by the Dearborn Allied War Veterans Council and the city of Dearborn, and will feature more than 60 marching groups, hundreds of veterans, and historic aircraft.
In addition, it will include eight school bands and several community organizations. A military flyover is also expected.
The parade will march west on Michigan Avenue from Maple Street to Henry Ford Centennial Library.
Remembrance ceremony at noon, canopy for shade provided in 2019
Following the parade at noon, there will be a solemn remembrance ceremony at the Veterans Park and War Memorial in front of the Centennial Library. This year a canopy will be provided to supply shade for the audience while watching the ceremony.
Veterans honored during 9:40 a.m. procession before the 10 a.m. parade
Prior to the parade, there will be a ceremonial funeral procession at 9:40 a.m. to honor veterans who died and were cremated, but never interred. Due to unknown circumstances, veterans’ cremains sometimes stay in a funeral home for years after their death.
This year, one World War II veteran who died in 2015 and a Vietnam-era veteran who died in 2013 will be honored in the procession, and will later be laid to rest at the Fort Custer National Cemetery. It is expected that family members of the World War II veteran will be in attendance at the funeral procession and ceremony.
Grand marshal is a Gold Star father
As grand marshal, Robinson will lead the parade as a Gold Star father and give keynote remarks at the solemn ceremony.
His son Heath was killed in Afghanistan while his team was backing up U.S. Army Rangers who were under fire. Thirty Americans died that day, making it the single largest loss of Special Forces lives in U.S. history.
Following his son’s death, Robinson has spent years dedicated to reaching out to Gold Star families.
This new line of work has given him the opportunity to speak at many military events and to meet with several esteemed military personnel and political dignitaries, including President Donald Trump.
School marching bands a Dearborn tradition
The Divine Child High School Band, under the direction of Robert Bush, will be the lead band in the parade and provide music for the ceremony.
Sponsors, volunteer drivers make the parade possible
The parade is made possible with the support of the Dearborn Federal Savings Bank, East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority, Ford Motor Co., Kroger (Michigan and Greenfield), and the UAW/FCA Veterans Group.
It is also made possible by the generous drivers who provide their convertibles and transport the special veterans who are in the parade.
Michigan Avenue will be closed from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
To safely accommodate the parade, Michigan Avenue will be closed from Southfield Freeway to Osborn from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, May 27. No parking is allowed on Michigan Avenue during the parade.
To learn more about Dearborn’s Memorial Day Parade, including the parade lineup, go to www.cityofdearborn.org.