DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Seven veterans whose cremated remains have been in Michigan funeral homes for years because they died without money for burial were honored Monday in a Detroit suburb.
The Dearborn Allied War Veterans Council conducted a funeral procession before the city’s 90th annual Memorial Day parade. A noon ceremony followed for the veterans of World War I and World War II who died between 1973 and 1993.
It’s the fourth time in the past five years that the group has sought veterans who died with no money for burial as part of the Missing in America Project.
Their remains will be placed in a mausoleum at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly Township.
U.S. Army veteran Ken Warner, 68, of Flat Rock, told the Detroit Free Press that he came alone to watch the parade, one of the state’s oldest and largest. He said he was there to “remember the fallen.”
The parade was among numerous Memorial Day-related events statewide, from Monroe in the far southeastern corner of the Lower Peninsula to the Upper Peninsula city of Marquette.
Veterans of Michigan’s National Action Network placed flowers Monday morning at the entrance to the McArthur Bridge, which connects Detroit’s mainland to Belle Isle. They were honoring black World War II veterans who were hurt or killed during the city’s 1943 race riot, which started on the island park.
Among the thousands lining streets for a parade in Kalamazoo were Troy and Dawn Mepyans, who watched their daughter riding with the Corvette Club. Dawn Mepyans, whose father and father-in-law served in Vietnam, told the Kalamazoo Gazette that the event was “a perfect opportunity” to teach their daughter and others the meaning of the holiday.
Hundreds of people attended the rededication ceremony for a Civil War memorial at Oakwood Cemetery in Lowell, near Grand Rapids. WOOD-TV reported that the ceremony included the presentation of a naval cannon from the mid-1800s. It had been restored by American Legion members.
The grand marshal of the Saginaw Memorial Day Parade through that city’s downtown was Robert Likam. The 92-year-old served as a sergeant during World War II in the 101st Airborne Division.
Before the parade, he told The Saginaw News about his war exploits, which included parachuting into Normandy, France, before the D-Day beach invasion. He said he was hurt, captured and imprisoned by German soldiers in The Netherlands but eventually escaped to Russia, only to be detained again and interrogated.
“Freedom isn’t free, be thankful for what you get and what you do can do,” Likam said.