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 Jenn and Richard Pizzi, of Bloomfield Hills, walk through the Veterans Tribute in  Oakland Township Nov. 11. Richard Pizzi is a Vietnam War veteran.

Jenn and Richard Pizzi, of Bloomfield Hills, walk through the Veterans Tribute in Oakland Township Nov. 11. Richard Pizzi is a Vietnam War veteran.

Photo by Donna Agusti


A tribute and thanks to veterans

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published November 13, 2018

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OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — World leaders signed an armistice 100 years ago in a train car in France. The goal was to end four years of conflict in the war to end all wars.

“The exact minute of the truce recognizes the guns falling silent,” Tim Resse said at the Oakland Township Veterans Tribute Nov. 11, asking the gathered crowd to take a moment of silent reflection at 11:11 a.m., the exact minute of the World War I truce. “This is the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day,” Reese said.

“Veterans, you are a special group of people,” St. John Lutheran Church Pastor Mark Schwichtenberg said to the gathered crowd at the new tribute located on Adams Road, near Silverbell Road. “To stand here, without fear — we say thank you for your sacrifice. It defines us and gives us purpose.

“War is an ugly thing,” Schwichtenberg said. “Every veteran is willing to pay the ultimate price, giving me the ultimate freedom.”

The recently completed Oakland Township Veterans Tribute features clear glass-etched markers honoring all branches of the military rising skyward and encircling the American flag, and it is lighted at night.

Tribute designers aimed to focus on the valor, honor, patriotism and nobility of those who have served and are currently serving the U.S. — giving a positive and uplifting message with a sense of hope. Reese said the design also includes a special tribute to veterans who have been disabled as a result of their service.

The $2.2 million tribute was built with donated funds, materials and construction over its two-year project schedule, and was dedicated in July.

Reese was one of three Oakland Township residents who headed the tribute plan, along with Dominic Moceri and former Township Supervisor Terry Gonser.  

“When this tribute was built, we didn’t want to call attention to sacrifice,” Reese said. “We don’t want to make you feel sad; we want to evoke pride.”

Phase one of the Veterans Tribute is complete, and phase two aims to fund upkeep and repairs, as well as additions that include an entrance marker, additional landscaping, a pedestrian bridge over Gallagher Creek and a founding documents exhibit.

All are invited to honor a veteran by purchasing a laser-engraved brick paver as a permanent part of the tribute for a donation of $150 for a 4-by-8-inch brick or $300 for an 8-by-8-inch brick.

Reese said pavers will be installed near Memorial Day.

“You can order them anytime,” he said. “We’ll have a bricklaying party, so you can put them where you want them.”

For more information, visit VTOTMI.org.

“What I want us to remember today is that veterans don’t need our sorrow or pride — they just need our thanks,” Reese said.

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