Madison Heights announces Memorial Day parade for 2023

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison-Park News | Published December 7, 2022

MADISON HEIGHTS — The Madison Heights City Council unanimously approved the return of the Memorial Day Parade for 2023, something that has been absent from the city since 2019.

The city only held memorial services the last three years, without a parade, due to COVID-19.

“As we did the 2022 service, we had a lot of interest (from residents) to bring the parade back,” said Andy McGillivray, one of the parade organizers, in an email.

He said that planning for the parade begins shortly after Christmas. During the ceremony earlier this year, there was an uptick in COVID cases, which along with construction in the area cast doubt on the parade’s return. Now, organizers are confident things will work in 2023.

While the event is paid for with funds raised by the parade committee, it still requires close coordination with the city. The organizers asked the council to officially announce the parade’s return.

City Councilman Sean Fleming made the motion to approve a resolution doing just that at the council meeting on Nov. 14. Fleming is a military veteran and serves as the senior vice commander of VFW Post 1407.

“Memorial Day is the parade where the community comes to support and remember its military members of the past and present. I’m very pleased that our council passed the resolution to support the parade,” Fleming said via email. “The parade committee and our city staff will be meeting on how to make sure that the parade is a success. And as a veteran, I plan on helping the parade committee this coming year as I did in 2022.”

Mayor Roslyn Grafstein said she has been having discussions with McGillivray and Fleming about the parade’s return for several months now. Also involved is Martha Kehoe, another organizer.

The mayor said that in 2020, residents were generally understanding that events couldn’t take place due to COVID. Recently, however, more communities have been holding in-person events, leading to an expectation that the parade would follow suit.

“The resolution we made was to clearly give the committee direction that the council wants and expects a Memorial Day parade for 2023,” Grafstein said via email. “While the bulk of the parade planning, fundraising and coordination is done by the parade committee and their volunteers, I will also be reaching out to many of our partners, looking for old and new participants.”

McGillivray said that plans for fundraisers are still in the early stages. In the past, the parade committee held spaghetti dinners, pub crawls and other events in cooperation with groups like the Madison Heights Women’s Club. He also said that plans for the parade itself are still taking shape.

“But we can say that it will be a different parade route than what people are used to, due to the construction going on at 12 Mile and 14 Mile (roads), and 13 Mile Road being used as a detour for that construction, along with the City Hall construction project that is currently ongoing,” he said.

“We just feel it’s important to bring it back this year to honor our veterans that have served, and who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” McGillivray said. “Our community has their names on the monument in front of City Hall, but we can’t just remember their names alone — we must also remember the families that they left behind.”