City, church to salute military for Veterans Day

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published October 28, 2015

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Organizers of local Veterans Day events are lining things up in formation in order to show appreciation to people who have served in the military.

The city of Sterling Heights will hold its annual Veterans Day ceremony at 11 a.m. Nov. 11 at the Sterling Heights Recreation Center, located at 40620 Utica Road in Dodge Park.

According to Community Relations Director Bridget Doyle, the city teams up with the Sterling Heights Community Foundation and local veterans to present the ceremony.

John Robert Todd, who was an Army officer and attack pilot during the Vietnam War, will be the keynote speaker. Members of the city’s police and fire departments will be there, and Stevenson and Henry Ford II high schools will bring a choir and a school band, respectively.

Doyle said “a hefty number of attendees” from the veterans community have historically participated in the event, and she said members of local veterans groups receive invitations to the ceremony.

Due to Sterling Heights’ large population, she said, the community is still home to a sizable number of people who fought in World War II and Vietnam, she said.

“Obviously, this is a very important day for them,” she said. “I can say that Sterling Heights puts heavy weight on making sure that our veterans are recognized and appreciated every year.”

In addition, St. Jane Frances de Chantal Catholic Church in Sterling Heights is inviting the community and those affiliated with veterans and military workers to the Veteran and Military Service Members Mass at 7 p.m. Nov. 10.

According to the church, those gathered will pray for the military, as well as thank and honor those who serve. The VFW Post 7573 color guard is expected to attend.

Maureen Blair, pastoral associate at St. Jane Frances de Chantal, said the church has held a Mass for veterans a few times before, and it has typically brought in a crowd of around 200. She said the reaction from the community is amazing.

“You look around the assembly, you see the veterans in the Mass, and you see the tears in their eyes, and you see a connection with all of them,” she said. “There is this real sense of camaraderie between them and an appreciation for being recognized.”

Blair said the church also encourages family members of those serving in the armed forces to attend. She said the attendance breaks down to about 50-50 between regular churchgoers and people outside the parish, adding that the church sends out invitations to local Veterans of Foreign Wars halls and similar groups.

“It’s a happy night, in a way — that it’s good to be American, and it’s good to be thanking God for the service of all these people,” she said.

Learn more about St. Jane Frances de Chantal Catholic Church, 38750 Ryan Road in Sterling Heights, by calling (586) 977-8080. Find out more about Sterling Heights by visiting www.sterling-heights.net or by calling (586) 446-2489.

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