Memorial held for military service members at Selfridge

By: Alex Szwarc | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published June 8, 2021

 Veteran Elbert Thomlinson rang a bell after each name was read for the final call.

Veteran Elbert Thomlinson rang a bell after each name was read for the final call.

Photo provided by Rose Spaulding

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — Rose Spaulding views a recent memorial as a way to provide family members a sense of community.

A memorial service was held May 22 at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township to honor military service members who died from March 2020 to March 31, 2021 who served at Selfridge.

The 16 honorees had some affiliation with the base, Spaulding said, whether it be former 127th Wing members, to those in the Marines, Army, Navy and Coast Guard, as well as those on active duty service and veterans.

The event was held at the Enlisted Heritage House Memorial Park, with about 50 people in attendance.

127th Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Rolf Mammen, military representatives from each branch, and family and friends attended the memorial service.

“During COVID, they had lost a lot of people who were affiliated with Selfrdidge,” Spaulding, marketing trustee for the Enlisted Heritage House at Selfridge, said. “They had either been stationed there, were retired or active duty.”

Mammen said the event was an opportunity to celebrate the lives of former members and friends of the Selfridge community who died in the last year.

“Due to the COVID pandemic, families had limited abilities to have a proper farewell for those lost, and this was the Enlisted Heritage House’s part to provide a proper farewell,” he said.

The service included a live rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner, with each name read with the ringing of a bell, followed by taps and the laying of a wreath in Anchor Bay.

Mammen called it a fantastic day, adding that the event had representatives from every service stationed on Selfridge and was extremely well organized.

“I think this meant a great deal to the families; in fact, the celebration that started at 2 p.m. lasted well into the evening,” he said. “I would like to acknowledge the board of directors of the Enlisted Heritage House, all of which are volunteers, who came up with this idea and the many hours of preparation to execute the event is such an excellent way. I am very proud of them and the great work they do for the Selfridge community.”

A Coast Guard chaplain provided the invocation, with a Bible verse read by the president of the Enlisted Heritage House.

“The families I spoke to thought it was nice that the base thought enough of their loved ones to do a ceremony like this,” Spaulding said. “A lot of them said we should have a ceremony like that every year to honor anybody who passed away that was attached to Selfridge. It gave them a sense of community.”

She mentioned that whenever a military member or veteran dies, the military community wants to make sure they are honored in some way.  

The Enlisted Heritage House was created to preserve, honor and display the rich history of the enlisted corps who have served at Selfridge.