‘Everybody loves a parade’

Keego Harbor, Sylvan Lake honor veterans on Memorial Day

By: Cari DeLamielleure-Scott | Warren Weekly | Published May 14, 2014

KEEGO HARBOR/ SYLVAN LAKE — The cities of Keego Harbor and Sylvan Lake will each host their annual Memorial Day parades May 26, commemorating veterans and soldiers who have died in the line of duty.

Sylvan Lake
Sylvan Lake’s Memorial Day parade dates back 60 years, but Memorial Park, where the parade ends, has a deep-rooted history from World War II. The park, according to parade organizer and resident Jim Smith, was used to collect metal scraps during World War II and has since been a location for honoring veterans. A sign containing a listing of the men serving was erected at Memorial Park, then Veteran’s Park, in the ’40s.

“I was a youngster during World War II, and I remember when they had a memorial with the names of all the young people in the service. ... And then, all of a sudden, that sign disappeared,” said Ray Dahlgren, Sylvan Lake resident and veteran.

Dahlgren, 81, has lived in Sylvan Lake for 80 years and served during the Vietnam War. He was stationed in medical service in the U.S. and was on active duty in the Reserves from 1957-86.

“(Veterans) served the country well, and people for a long time forgot veterans. They didn’t pay any attention to them. You look at Vietnam (War), and they spit on (soldiers) when they came home, so the country owes them a lot,” Dahlgren said.

The parade begins at Sylvan Lake City Hall at 11 a.m. and will end at Memorial Park, located on the corner of Garland Street and Pontiac Drive. A ceremony honoring veterans will take place at 11:45 a.m. at the park.

“The parade is about honoring those who serve, and it’s about being good neighbors in Sylvan Lake,” Smith said.

Residents along Garland Street are encouraged to invite Sylvan Lake residents to watch the parade on their lawns, which addresses the “good neighbor” aspect of the parade, Smith said.

Prior to the parade, bicycle and stroller decorating will take place at City Hall at 10:15 a.m., and children are then invited to ride in the parade. Groups participating in the festivities include the Sylvan Lake Garden Club, the Oakland County Boat Club, the Michigan Humane Society and the West Bloomfield Township Public Library.

“As a veteran, I think it’s wonderful that we are recognizing those who have served and those who have paid the ultimate price of giving up their life in the defense of the wellbeing of our country,” said Sylvan Lake resident and veteran Pete Peters.

Peters, 74, was a third-class petty officer in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves during the Vietnam War. He served 1962-68 and was stationed in Michigan. Peters recounted patrolling the Detroit River in a 40-foot cutter, armed with a flair gun, during the Detroit riots of 1967.

“(Sylvan Lake) is the best place to live in Oakland County. It has so many things going for it, and the parade is just one of them,” Peters said.

Veterans who would like to participate in the parade by being honored at Memorial Park can contact Jim Smith at jsmith2363@yahoo.com. The Sylvan Lake Memorial Parade will begin at City Hall at 11 a.m. and end at Memorial Park. A ceremony honoring the veterans will take place at Memorial Park.

Keego Harbor
Keego Harbor’s mile-long parade begins at Abbott Middle School at 10 a.m. The parade route will head east on Orchard Lake Road and travel through Cass Lake Road, working toward City Hall. A ceremony will take place at City Hall at 11:30 a.m., with a scheduled flyover by the U.S. Air Force.

“It’s a great event,” said Sid Rubin, chairman of the parade. “One of the things we’re doing this year is we’re honoring police and fire personnel who have served in the U.S. armed forces.”

Approximately 3,000 people attended Keego Harbor’s 2013 parade, and this year, Rubin said, Civic Center TV will broadcast the parade to over 20,000 homes in Oakland County. Woody Woodruff from Channel 2 and former Councilmember Eric Gupta will introduce the parade participants from a stand located in front of Roosevelt School.

“Everybody loves a parade,” Rubin said.

Fifty-six American flags donated by Gordy Dibler, of Waterford — father of fallen soldier Spc. Byron W. Fouty ­— will be placed on the grounds of City Hall on Memorial Day. Fouty was captured while in Iraq, and his body was found a year later, Rubin said.

Groups participating in the parade include the West Bloomfield High School marching band, the West Bloomfield Fire Fighters Brigade, the honor guard from the U.S. Coast Guard, and Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. 

Everyone is invited to walk or ride in the parade. People who have registered will be given a slot and are encouraged to line up at Abbott Middle School at 9:15 a.m. To participate in the parade or for more information, contact Rubin at Sidrrubin@aol.com.

Veterans who need transportation to the parade can email Rubin at Sidrrubin@aol.com or call City Hall at (248) 682-1930. The Keego Harbor Memorial Day parade will begin at 10 a.m. at Abbott Middle School, 3380 Orchard Lake Road in West Bloomfield, at 10 a.m. and will end at 11:30 a.m. at City Hall. A ceremonial event will take place following the parade at City Hall, located at 2025 Beechmont in Keego Harbor.