Clinton Township honors vets by going purple

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published May 4, 2015


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Military service is a distinct area of American life, and local veterans are doing their best to make sure they are being honored the right way.

At Clinton Township’s April 20 board meeting, Commander Larry Pretzer, adjutant Joseph Didia, Chaplain Charles Larsen and John Smeekens presented Supervisor Bob Cannon and the Board of Trustees with a Purple Heart plaque and a flag to be placed inside the Civic Center.

The aforementioned men are part of Chapter 1818 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, which is located in Fraser.

The official proclamation made Clinton Township an official “Purple Heart” municipality, joining Warren, Center Line and Rochester, and another recent addition, St. Clair Shores.

Purple Heart Day is celebrated nationally on Aug. 7.

Prior to the presentation of the plaque and flag, Pretzer discussed the importance of honoring local veterans on a year-round basis and understanding their hardships and sacrifices — especially those who were wounded or killed in action.

“The Purple Heart is an American decoration — the oldest military decoration in the world in use today,” Pretzer said. “It was initially created during the Revolutionary War by George Washington as a badge of military merit. In 1932 during the celebration of George Washington’s 100th birthday, the war department revised the award with its present design.”

Pretzer mentioned how the Purple Heart is awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces who were wounded by an instrument of war at the hands of the enemy, and they are posthumously awarded to the next of kin.

“The red on our glorious banner is dyed a richer hue for the precious blood our nation’s soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines have shed,” he said.

The township board unanimously approved becoming a “Purple Heart” municipality — another step in a history of local officials honoring veterans through various displays and services.

Clerk Kim Meltzer read a statement that said “veterans have paid the high price of freedom by leaving their families and their communities to place themselves in harm’s way for the good of their country. … The Charter Township of Clinton appreciates the sacrifices our Purple Heart recipients made in defending our freedom and believe it is important that we acknowledge them for their courage and show them the support and honor they have earned.”

Cannon mentioned how the township and county is home to an innumerable amount of veterans and that their service deserves respect.

Trustee Dean Reynolds said he was a little shocked that the township had previously never been declared as a “Purple Heart” municipality.

“It’s definitely a wonderful thing to honor,” Reynolds said. “I’m actually surprised we haven’t done this in the past, and I didn’t even think about it because my father is a disabled veteran.

“I definitely want to thank (Chapter 1818) for bringing this forward and bringing attention to those wonderful men and women who put their lives on the line.”