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 Photo provided by the Grosse Pointe Public School System Parcells Middle School students hold up homemade Veterans Day cards that will be delivered for the Veterans Day breakfast Nov. 12 at The War Memorial in Grosse Pointe Farms.

Photo provided by the Grosse Pointe Public School System Parcells Middle School students hold up homemade Veterans Day cards that will be delivered for the Veterans Day breakfast Nov. 12 at The War Memorial in Grosse Pointe Farms.

Photo provided by the Grosse Pointe Public School System

Local communities, schools to observe Veterans Day

By: K. Michelle Moran, Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published November 6, 2018

GROSSE POINTES — As Veterans Day approaches Nov. 11, local schools and organizations will honor the men and women who have served in the U.S. military.    

One of the longest-standing traditions in the Grosse Pointes is the Veterans Day breakfast at The War Memorial, 32 Lake Shore Road in Grosse Pointe Farms. The annual event is free to veterans and costs $10 per person for nonveterans. Advance reservations are strongly encouraged, as this event usually sells out in advance. Doors open at 7 a.m. Nov. 12 for this year’s event. The program will begin at 7:45 a.m., and breakfast will be served at 8 a.m. Veterans will be presented with thank-you cards created by local students. The Motor City Brass Band is slated to perform a medley of patriotic favorites, and Michigan Veterans Affairs Director James Robert Redford and Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence, D-Southfield, will be the featured speakers. A special table will be set aside for World War II veterans.

“Patriotism and a dedication to American democracy impacts and helps to direct The War Memorial’s programming choices,” War Memorial President and CEO Charles Burke said in a press release. “Every veteran who walks through our doors, every name engraved on our plaques, and every hero we encounter, re-establishes our dedication to honoring and recognizing the many sacrifices these individuals have made for our safety and freedom.”

Veterans Day breakfast organizers say that this year, The War Memorial’s Patriot Initiative Committee will be announcing the allocation of $18,000 in grants to nonprofits serving Michigan veterans: Heroes’ Movement, the Fallen and Wounded Soldiers Fund, and the Grosse Pointe Artists Association. Based out of The War Memorial, the GPAA is offering free, therapeutic, walk-in art-making programs for veterans from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Nov. 20. Reservations for the art classes are requested to make sure there are enough materials for participants, and they can be made by calling the GPAA at (313) 881-3454.

“Every year, the Patriot Initiative Fund strives to recognize veterans as patriots and solidify The War Memorial’s commitment to serving and fostering positive growth within the veteran community,” Ed Lazar, Patriot Initiative Committee co-chair, said in a press release. “The ability to award grants to organizations that are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of veterans and their families affirms our willingness and desire to create meaningful relationships with local nonprofits that honor our local servicepeople and first responders.”

For Veterans Day breakfast tickets or more information, call The War Memorial at (313) 881-7511 or visit

Although Veterans Day will be formally celebrated this year on Nov. 12, it actually will be on a Sunday, Nov. 11. This year, Nov. 11 is the 100th anniversary of the cease-fire marking the end of World War I, on Nov. 11, 1918. In honor of this, Petersen Decker, of Grosse Pointe City, a retired U.S. Navy captain, said that churches are being asked to ring their steeple or other bells at 11 a.m. Nov. 11 — the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. By email, Decker said churches are being asked to ring their bells for one minute with 11 consecutive, timed rings at 5-second intervals. Those within listening range of the bells are asked to stand silently at attention, if possible, and men are asked to remove their hats. Civilians should place their hand over their heart during the tolling, while veterans are asked to salute.

“Veterans Day marks an important event in United States history,” Decker said via email. “It was 100 years ago that the guns fell silent on the Western Front, ending World War I. Originally known as Armistice Day to honor United States veterans of that war, it evolved into Veterans Day to honor all veterans. Veterans Day is a time of reflection upon our blessings, upon the men and women who wore our nation’s uniform, and upon their supporting families and communities, and we spend part of the day remembering those throughout the centuries who sacrificed for our country in the defense of freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.”

Also on Veterans Day, the historic Edsel and Eleanor Ford House, 1100 Lake Shore Road in Grosse Pointe Shores, will offer free house and grounds tours for all U.S. veterans and active-duty military personnel. Veterans can bring one guest for complimentary admission. Tours will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Nov. 11. For more information, visit or call (313) 884-4222.

On Nov. 11, the public is welcome to attend a Veterans Day celebration at 1:30 p.m. at the Central Branch of the Grosse Pointe Public Library, located at 10 Kercheval Ave. in Grosse Pointe City. The library event will honor all veterans and will be held on the outside patio around the flagpole. A performance by a 10-piece brass band from Grosse Pointe South High School, and the color guard from Selfridge Air National Guard Base presenting the flag will add to the festivities.

Grosse Pointe Public School System students and staff will salute veterans through a number of classroom projects. The Kerby Elementary School choir will celebrate the contributions of past military members by singing, “Thank You, Soldiers,” by M. & A. Souders, at the school’s Nov. 14 concert. According to music teacher Mary Ann Magill, the song “is a very powerful reminder of the sacrifices for our freedoms that veterans and their families make, especially during the holidays.”

Kerby kindergarten teacher Kim Maddalena, also the district’s kindergarten social studies grade-level leader, shared with the kindergarten and Young Fives teachers several book titles to read in class about veterans. Recommendations included “Hero Dad” and “Hero Mom,” both by Melina Hardin, and “Veterans: Heroes in Our Neighborhood,” by Aaron Anderson.

From there, the students will make art projects to coordinate with the topic. Maddalena’s students, for instance, will create homemade cards and read a Veterans Day issue of Scholastic News magazine. Because Veterans Day is special to so many, Maddalena’s students will make family projects in which they will bring in a heart with the name of a family member who is a veteran on it. The hearts will then be displayed at school.

“It is so important to honor our veterans and teach kids about them,” Maddalena said in an email.

Veterans were remembered by Defer Elementary School students, who used their artistic talents to make thank-you cards to be delivered to The War Memorial. Advisory classes at Brownell Middle School also created about 300 cards for The War Memorial breakfast.

Brownell also is hoping to raise $300 for the GI Go Fund online at gppss. To participate, donate $5 or more to the fund and wear jeans to work, along with your program sticker, on Jeans for Troops Day. The Brownell community will wear red, white, and/or blue to school Nov. 12.

The patriotism also spilled over to Parcells Middle School. During the school’s “ONE Parcells” weekly character education class, teachers taught a lesson on the meaning of Veterans Day and then partnered with The War Memorial on a thank-you letter project.  

Principal Dan Hartley said all Parcells students wrote letters to veterans thanking them for their service. The letters are to be distributed during The War Memorial breakfast Nov. 12. Additional cards not used at the breakfast will be taken to Piquette Square, a 150-unit apartment facility in Detroit that houses and cares for homeless veterans.