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 A sign announces a previous year’s Sterling Heights Memorial Day Parade.

A sign announces a previous year’s Sterling Heights Memorial Day Parade.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Grand marshal reflects on service for annual parade

Detroit Pistons Dancers, Rosie the Riveter to appear

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published May 22, 2018

 The Sterling Heights Police Explorers carry the U.S. flag down Dodge Park Road during a previous Sterling Heights Memorial Day Parade.

The Sterling Heights Police Explorers carry the U.S. flag down Dodge Park Road during a previous Sterling Heights Memorial Day Parade.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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Macomb County Commissioner Joseph Romano has plenty of memories of his time serving in the U.S. Army National Guard for six years in the 1960s, when he was stationed at Fort Carson, in Colorado.

“My military job was a medical corpsman, and I worked the emergency room for eight hours a day when I was in the service,” he said.

Later this month, Romano will be serving in a different position — leading Sterling Heights’ Memorial Day Parade as the grand marshal.

“I know it sounds corny, but I’m so honored and I’m humbled,” he said. “I think there are so many more people that deserve the honor.”

According to city officials, Sterling Heights will hold its 39th annual Memorial Day observance May 28 starting at the Richard J. Notte Sterling Heights City Center campus. A 9 a.m. ceremony will take place outside City Hall to honor fallen members of the military. Then a parade will proceed down Dodge Park Road at around 10 a.m.

Because 2018 marks the city’s 50th anniversary, the parade will reflect a broader theme by “honoring those who serve — past, present and future.” As a result, it will not just honor fallen soldiers, but also veterans and active members of the armed forces as well.

Romano said his family will be coming to the event to see it. As a former member of the Sterling Heights City Council, he thanked the people of Sterling Heights for being great to him, adding that it was one of the reasons he accepted the honor.

“They asked me to give out a speech for it, and they say they wouldn’t edit it, so that’s nice,” he added.

According to Citizen Services Specialist Sue Giallombardo, this year’s event promises “a couple of exciting additions that we don’t normally have.”

“We’re having the Rosie the Riveter group and the Detroit Pistons Dancers with their mascot, Hooper,” she said.

Giallombardo said several high school bands will play during the parade, including ones from Sterling Heights High, Cousino, Henry Ford II, River Rouge and Harper Woods.

The 1st Michigan Colonial Fife and Drum Corps is expected to return to the event, as well as city dignitaries, including Mayor Michael Taylor and Sterling Heights Arts Commission Chair Jeanne Schabath.

Sandy Worswick, a member of the Motor City Blend Chorus, said her group will perform during the ceremony. The chorus is a recent merger between the Great Lakes Chorus of Sweet Adelines International and the Spirit of Detroit Chorus, she said.

“It’s barbershop and it’s four-part harmony a cappella,” she said. “I’m one of the singers. I sing lead, which is the melody. I also stand in the front row, which is a little more dancy in the chorus.”

Worswick said she joined the Sweet Adelines chorus back in 1990, and they’ve appeared at the Sterling Heights Memorial Day events “for some time.”

“We love serving our communities,” Worswick said. “We love patriotic shows; we love Christmas shows. We perform for it all. ... We have ladies that come from Lansing (and) Canada. We have girls from the east side, like Marine City. So we are from all over the place.”

The 39th annual Memorial Day ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. at the Richard J. Notte Sterling Heights City Center, 40555 Utica Road in Sterling Heights. The parade will start at 10 a.m. Find out more by visiting www.sterling-heights.net or by calling (586) 446-2489.

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