Memorial Day 2012: A Neighborhood Parade

Glacier area event on Ann Arbor's east side honors fallen soldiers

As they have for nearly three decades, residents of Ann Arbor’s Glacier neighborhood paid tribute on Memorial Day to soldiers who lost their lives serving this country.

Jim Mitchiner

Jim Mitchiner leads the Memorial Day parade down Bardstown Trail through the Glacier neighborhood. (Photos by Dave Askins)

The Monday morning event is the only Memorial Day parade in Ann Arbor. Though it includes some of the usual parade fare – a fire truck, drum corps and people campaigning for elected office – it’s a relatively low-key affair that winds through this east side neighborhood of wide, tree-lined streets and ends up at Glacier Highlands Park.

There, more than 200 people converged to stand quietly during a brief ceremony. A trumpeter played “Taps,” a bagpiper played “Amazing Grace,” and resident Stephen Landes made brief remarks, thanking soldiers for their service, and for “your dedication to our country and to your comrades here or in our thoughts.”

To a silent crowd, Landes read a list of Michigan residents who were killed while serving in the military over the past year and who received flag honors from Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. Jim Mitchiner, who had carried the American flag at the head of the parade, then retired the colors.

After the ceremony, Girl Scouts sold water to raise money for a trip to Switzerland, and the Optimist Club passed out red, white and blue popsicles. A table was set up in the park for people to make cards that will be sent to military personnel serving overseas – this year’s goal was to make 100 cards.

Here’s a chronicling of this neighborhood tradition, which is hosted by the Glacier Area Homeowners’ Association and the Ann Arbor Breakfast Optimist Club.

The photographs below provide snapshots of the day, but it’s worth beginning with a list of those who were honored at the Memorial Day event. More details about their lives and the circumstances of their deaths are provided on the state’s flag honors website. Most were in their 20s and all were killed over the past year in Afghanistan:

  • U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant Vincent J. Bell of Detroit
  • U.S. Army Private First Class Jackie Lee Diener II of Boyne City
  • U.S. Naval Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Heath M. Robinson of Petoskey
  • U.S. Army Capt. Drew Russell of Scotts
  • U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant Nicholas A. Sprovtsoff of Davison
  • U.S. Army Specialist Chazray C. Clark of Ecorse
  • U.S. Army Corporal Joseph A. VanDreumel of Standale
  • U.S. Navy Seaman Aaron D. Ullom of Midland
  • U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Joshua A. Throckmorton of Battle Creek
  • U.S. Army Private First Class Brian J. Backus of Harbor Beach
  • U.S. Army Spc. Robert L. Voakes Jr. of L’Anse
  • U.S. Army Pvt. Thomas C. Allers of Plainwell
  • U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ergin V. Osman of Harrison Township
  • U.S. Air Force Technical Sgt. Matthew S. Schwartz of Traverse City
  • U.S Army Captain Bruce Kevin Clark of Addison

Leading up to the ceremony, a full complement of American parade traditions were on display. Here’s a sampling.

Reflections of parade watchers on an Ann Arbor fire truck

Parade watchers were reflected on the side of this Ann Arbor fire truck.

Bob Droppelman

Bob Droppleman. marched in the parade playing bagpipes. He also performed “Amazing Grace” during the ceremony after the parade.

"Honored Heroes" banner

The parade started with just three girls carrying the “Our Honored Heroes” banner. They were later joined by another friend.

Drum corps

Members of a volunteer drum corps from Huron High School.

Eagle float pulled by a bike

A hand-crafted eagle float added to the festivities.

One of many American flags in the parade

One of many American flags in the Memorial Day parade.

A parade of bikes

A parade of bikes brought up the rear.

John Hieftje, Jane Lumm, Tony Derezinski

Incumbents on parade, from left: mayor John Hieftje and Ward 2 city councilmembers Jane Lumm and Tony Derezinski. Derezinski, wearing a Vietnam veterans cap, is running for re-election this year and faces Sally Hart Petersen in the Aug. 7 Democratic primary. Hieftje will seek re-election. Lumm is not up for re-election this year.

Sally Petersen

Democrat Sally Hart Petersen, right, is challenging incumbent Tony Derezinski in the Aug. 7 primary for a Ward 2 city council seat. The Glacier neighborhood is located in Ward 2.

Sumi Kailasapathy

Sumi Kailasapathy was not passing out her own campaign literature at the parade (the parade is held in Ward 2), though she’ll be running for city council in Ward 1. That seat is held by Sandi Smith, who isn’t seeking re-election. Kailasapathy faces Eric Sturgis in the Aug. 7 Democratic primary. Sabra Briere, the other current Ward 1 councilmember, also attended Monday’s parade. Briere is not up for re-election this year.

Christina Montague

Christina Montague is running for the Washtenaw County board of commissioners in the new District 7, which includes the Glacier neighborhood. The former county commissioner will face Andy LaBarre in the Aug. 7 Democratic primary.

Andy LaBarre

Democrat Andy LaBarre is running against Christina Montague for the new District 7 seat on the Washtenaw County board of commissioners. The incumbent in that district, Democrat Barbara Bergman, is not seeking re-election.

Erane Washington

Erane Washington is one of four candidates in the race for 22nd Circuit Court judge. The judgeship is currently held by Melinda Morris, who is retiring. Other candidates are Jim Fink, Carol Kuhnke and Doug McClure. The non-partisan Aug. 7 primary will narrow the field down to two candidates, with those two candidates facing off on Nov. 6.

Adam Zemke

Adam Zemke greets potential voters – he’s running for state representative in District 55 and faces Andrea Brown-Harrison in the Aug. 7 Democratic primary.

Ingrid Sheldon

Former Ann Arbor mayor Ingrid Sheldon was parade marshall.

Dug Song

Local entrepreneur Dug Song was chasing a decent photo opp on his vehicle of choice – a skateboard, which is not visible in the photo, but accounts for his posture.

Kathy Griswold

Kathy Griswold, who’s active in local school and government issues, was one of the parade organizers in its early years, more than two decades ago.

Kirk Westphal

Kirk Westphal, who serves on the Ann Arbor planning commission, helped organize this year’s parade.


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