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.
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.
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