Veterans make request due to health concerns; formal city vote April 21
Dearborn, veterans remain committed to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice
DEARBORN – The Dearborn Allied War Veterans Council has requested that the city’s 2020 Memorial Day Parade be cancelled due to concerns for the health and safety of veterans and the public.
Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. and the City Council are in agreement with the veterans’ organization. The city presents the parade — originally scheduled for May 25 this year — in partnership with the DAWVC each year.
The City Council expects to formally vote at an April 21 meeting to rescind a January resolution that approved the 2020 parade, which would have been the 96th annual event.
DAWVC Commander Bill Bazzi said protecting the public’s safety is what military veterans have always done, and the decision is in line with that highest duty.
“Although we did so with a heavy heart, the DAWVC officers and I strongly felt that cancelling the parade was the right decision to keep people safe,” Bazzi said. “We remain committed to honoring those who died in service for our country, and, working with the city, we will determine the best way we can recognize them in 2020.”
“The cancellation of the parade does not change our heritage of patriotism,” O’Reilly said. “Dearborn will never forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice. But we won’t put people at risk to do so, because that would be in conflict with what our veterans stand for.”
Possibilities for 2020 include creating a video tribute that could be widely distributed on Memorial Day.
The decision is being made sooner than later out of an abundance of caution. And, Bazzi said, there is too much uncertainty right now to finalize the essential details that traditionally need to be wrapped up in April.
The decision also gives clarity to the 80 groups and 2,000 people that usually march in the parade, as well as the thousands of spectators that line the 1.5-mile route along Michigan Avenue to watch the event.
The parade is said to be the oldest continuous one in Michigan and one of the largest in the country. It honors those who died in service for their country, as well as all those who served.
Through the efforts of the DAWVC, the parade in the last 10 years has started with a funeral procession for veterans who died without resources and whose cremains had been stored in funeral homes, sometimes for decades.
The city and the DAWV also present annual ceremonies for Flag Day, Korean War Armistice Day, and Veterans Day. Dearborn has multiple patriotic monuments and in 2016 dedicated the extensive Veterans Park and War Memorial in front of Henry Ford Centennial Library.