City, schools make plans to observe Veterans Day in Sterling Heights

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published November 4, 2019

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STERLING HEIGHTS — Manny Gonzales, of Sterling Heights, served in active duty for the U.S. Army for a little over 17 years. Now retired from the service, he keeps Old Glory flying from his 22-foot flagpole and regularly decorates his yard with small flags for Independence Day and Memorial Day.

He plans to decorate for this upcoming Veterans Day too.

“(It’s about) not forgetting those who went before me, especially this year with the anniversary of D-Day,” he said. “One of my neighbors, his father-in-law was at D-Day and was at Normandy. My neighbor is a Vietnam veteran. Next to him is a Navy veteran. Next to him is another Army veteran.

“It’s just paying respect to my fellow brothers in arms.”

The city of Sterling Heights and the Utica Community Schools district will join Gonzales in observing Veterans Day. The federal holiday falls each year on Nov. 11 to commemorate the armistice that ended World War I.

Over at UCS, Henry Ford II High School is having a Veterans Day Appreciation Breakfast the morning of Nov. 11. Students at West Utica Elementary School in Shelby Township planned to have a Nov. 4 Veterans Day ceremony.

In an emailed statement, UCS Superintendent Christine Johns said the district offers its students meaningful experiences that teach them to understand, respect and appreciate veterans’ service.

“Quality public education is a cornerstone of our democracy that has been protected through the sacrifices of our veterans,” she said.                    

Meanwhile, the city of Sterling Heights will hold its annual observance ceremony at 11 a.m. Nov. 11 at the Sterling Heights Senior Center.

According to city officials, Mayor Michael Taylor, other city dignitaries and local veterans are expected to attend. The police and fire honor guards will do a 21-gun salute, and a Henry Ford II High School band and a Stevenson High School choir are scheduled to perform.

Col. James Rossi, the commander of the 127th Air Refueling Group at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, will be the keynote speaker. His bio states that his awards and decorations include medals for Afghanistan, Iraq and the global war on terrorism. Rossi could not be reached by press time.

Sterling Heights Community Relations Director Melanie Davis said in an email that it’s important to recognize veterans’ sacrifices and endeavors to protect freedoms.

“They have faced danger and risked their lives because they believe in something bigger than themselves, and for that we are all immeasurably grateful,” Davis said. “We are thrilled to use this special day each year as an opportunity to recognize them, and we are thankful for the teamwork and resounding support of our City Council that makes it possible.”

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