During the Madison Heights Memorial Day memorial service in 2019, Norm Maudlin, senior vice commander of VFW District V, escorts Gold Star Mother Jean Linville in the laying of the wreaths. This year’s memorial service will be held at Madison Heights City Hall May 29.

During the Madison Heights Memorial Day memorial service in 2019, Norm Maudlin, senior vice commander of VFW District V, escorts Gold Star Mother Jean Linville in the laying of the wreaths. This year’s memorial service will be held at Madison Heights City Hall May 29.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Date announced for memorial service in Madison Heights

Memorial Day parade canceled due to pandemic

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published May 26, 2021

MADISON HEIGHTS — The Memorial Day parade will not take place this year in the city of Madison Heights, out of an abundance of caution over the pandemic. But there will still be a memorial service to pay respects to those who died serving in the military and those who continue to serve.

The event will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 29, at the gazebo in front of Madison Heights City Hall, 300 W. 13 Mile Road, near the corner of John R Road. People can drive in and listen from their cars through the radio. A limited number of presenters will be socially distanced throughout the services.

According to Laurie Geralds, a member of the Parade Committee, highlights will include a flag ceremony, remarks from the mayor and the VFW, the reading of names of residents lost during active duty, the laying of wreaths at city memorials, taps, and a Wall of Heroes photo board.

Veterans and active military attendees are invited to RSVP by emailing mhparade@gmail.com.

The mayor and several members of the City Council replied to emails asking for their thoughts on the city’s Memorial Day traditions.

“It is our duty as Americans to support the families of every service member as they sacrifice being without their loved ones, in some cases forever,” said Madison Heights Mayor Roslyn Grafstein. “Our servicemen and women are courageous and selfless individuals who risk their lives for freedom. The cost of freedom is high, and too often, the ultimate sacrifice is made.

“The Memorial Day service and remembrance is a way in which we can thank their loved ones for the sacrifices made on our behalf,” she said. “If you cannot participate in a Memorial Day service this year, at some point on Memorial Day please take a moment and truly consider those who gave their lives so we can be free.”

Madison Heights Mayor Pro Tem David Soltis said he would’ve liked to see the parade go on, with people wearing masks unless fully vaccinated. He noted that the decision to cancel the parade was made prior to the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That being said, “These have been quite the memorial services,” Soltis said of the tradition. “It really touches the heart to remember all veterans, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice. It’s a very solemn experience. We as a community must never forget those who did give their life for this country and our community.

“Our memorial service is hands down the best one around,” he said. “I am so proud of all the work that citizens have consistently contributed to this event. They should be acknowledged and congratulated for it. It’s an example how this community comes together for the betterment of all.”

Madison Heights City Councilman Robert Corbett said the memorial service demonstrates “the strength and enduring character of small towns across our country, and most especially here in Madison Heights,” noting it pays tribute to those who gave their lives for others.

“Right here in our town, many young people went off to war to protect us here in the streets and meeting places of Madison Heights. And some of our sons and daughters were called upon to sacrifice their tomorrows to ensure the rest of us would know peace and the love of our families,” Corbett said. “Certainly the need to cancel the parade and certain aspects of the commemorative program is necessary for health and safety of the residents. But confidently we hope that this will be one of the last times that this pandemic will intrude itself into the life of our community.”

Madison Heights City Councilman Mark Bliss said he’s been walking in the parade since he was a child, and he has missed it this year and last.

“It is part of our community’s foundation to come together and collectively recognize that freedom isn’t free. It’s who we are as a city to honor our fallen heroes, and I’m sure that all of our residents are looking forward to the parade coming back next year,” Bliss said. “I know I am.”

He also said the Parade Committee should be recognized as a vital piece of the city’s history.

“They saved the parade at the height of the recession, and they continue to make it the event that all of us longtime residents remember it as,” Bliss said. “It’s through their efforts that my children have the opportunity to make the same memories, and gain the same understanding as I did. They are an incredible group of volunteers, and I truly appreciate their hard work.”