An open letter to residents of Dearborn, Dearborn Heights and surrounding areas:
I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all who attended or participated in Dearborn’s 92nd Annual Memorial Day Parade. Without you, we would not be able to continue to shine in such a positive light, on this large of a scale.
I have always praised you great residents, whether in my travels or while representing the Dearborn Allied War Veterans Council, as generous, loving, and above all, patriotic Americans. You showed again that Dearborn is a city that truly represents America at its highest level.
During the Memorial Day weekend, I watched as visitors to our city changed their attitudes about Dearborn. Those attitudes had been based on how our community is sometimes portrayed beyond our borders, by people who do not know anything about Dearborn. I saw misperceptions transformed into real understanding, and then even to love for our city. I saw tears as our parade grand marshal, a wounded veteran of the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars, was greeted by local children from the Yemeni American Benevolent Association who handed him American flags and said thank you to him.
I saw the shock and then awe that other guests to our city felt. It takes me back to the time I first had these same feelings. Before moving here I was influenced by negative stereotypes. However, like the men I saw over the holiday weekend, I changed. And, each day I wake up proud to call Dearborn my home.
I also want to thank the sponsors of the Memorial Day Parade and ceremony: Dearborn Federal Savings Bank, East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority, Ford Motor Co., Foundation for American Veterans, Kroger (Michigan and Greenfield), the community groups that made donations and the veterans’ posts that helped fund the flyovers.
There are so many volunteers to thank, including drivers from the Mustang Owners Club of Southeast Michigan; Ford Veterans Network Group; Dearborn Allied War Veterans Council Ritual Team; Vietnam Veterans of America Color Guard; Missing in America Project; Michigan Army National Guard; University of Michigan Dearborn Veteran Success Team; the eight public school bands; Divine Child High School Marching Band; three dozen veteran or veteran support organizations; and 60 Scout troops, service and community groups.
A large part of the meaningful success of the day was due to all who participated in the tribute march, and to our residents and visitors who lined Michigan Avenue and waved flags, saluted and said hello. Your encouragement and appreciation for this day set aside to recognize those who gave their lives for this country is deeply appreciated by me and by our parade grand marshal, Stephen Cochran.
Thank you to Mayor John O’Reilly Jr., the Dearborn City Council, all of the city of Dearborn team and the parade committee. Without them, this great event in memory of men and women who risked and lost their lives so that we could be free would not take place.
So I say to you my Dearborn family, THANK YOU so, so, so very much. You represented our great city with honor over Memorial Day. God bless you all and God bless America.
Dearborn Allied War Veterans Council