Royal Oak Mayor Michael Fournier addresses those gathered for the city’s Memorial Day ceremony in 2022.

Royal Oak Mayor Michael Fournier addresses those gathered for the city’s Memorial Day ceremony in 2022.

File photo by Donna Dalziel

Memorial Day events remember those who died, honor veterans

By: Mike Koury | C&G Newspapers | Published May 23, 2023


FERNDALE/ROYAL OAK/CLAWSON/BERKLEY — Many communities around Oakland County will be hosting Memorial Day parades and ceremonies to honor and remember veterans.

Cities including Ferndale, Royal Oak, Clawson and Berkley all will have events on Memorial Day, which is on Monday, May 29.

Ferndale’s Memorial Day Parade will start at 10 a.m. on Livernois at West Maplehurst Avenue. It will proceed north on Livernois to West Oakridge Street, where marchers will proceed on to Pinecrest Drive and then to West Nine Mile Road. It will then end back on Livernois and the city’s Memorial Mall.

The parade will be celebrating its 105th year. According to a press release, “Participants will take to the streets with veterans, scout troops, Ferndale Public Schools marching bands, elected officials and representatives of service organizations. This year’s observance marks the return of Michigan Fallen, which has marked the occasion with placards honoring state residents who have died in overseas conflicts.”

“(Michigan Fallen is) a large group that pays tribute to people who have given their lives. They have nice placards. It’s a huge group. They probably will have a bagpiper there, and they do a wonderful job,” Memorial Day Parade Executive Secretary Bill Axtell said.

Axtell also said there will be the reading of the Honor Roll, which includes the names of local veterans who have died since last year’s Memorial Day. The Ferndale High School band will be performing as well.

“(The Honor Roll is) the most significant aspect for me, to recognize those people … regardless if they were fortunate to come back without being wounded or killed, but certainly for anybody who has suffered, we need to pay tribute to them,” he said.

The Memorial Day parade in Royal Oak will start at 9 a.m. on Main Street at Lincoln Avenue and will end at the Centennial Commons, at East Third Street and South Troy Street, where a ceremony will follow. The parade’s grand marshal is Art Fishman, who served in World War II and is a member of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America.

Royal Oak Veterans Event Committee Chairman David Wandoff said there will be a field of honor, where 188 flags will be placed in the ground to represent each soldier on the memorials in the commons. There also is an additional flag, he noted, that is for a recently identified soldier who died during the Iraq and Afghanistan war.

“Veterans Day is basically giving respect to all the people who have been in the military and have served, whether it be in peacetime or wartime, and Memorial Day is set aside for those that actually died during their service at some point. So it’s kind of more of a somber day, but it’s a really good time so that people can see what price we have paid for our freedom. It’s just a little bit more of a somber time,” said Wandoff, who is a master sergeant in the Army Reserves.

Berkley’s Memorial Day ceremony, hosted by the American Legion Post 374 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9222, will take place at 11 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial gazebo at City Hall, located at 3338 Coolidge Highway.

Following the ceremony, the American Legion will be having a barbecue beginning at noon at 2079 W. 12 Mile Road. Members will be cooking burgers, hot dogs and brats, and people are asked to bring side dishes for a potluck.

The city of Clawson will be hosting its ceremony starting at 10 a.m. at the Blair Memorial Library, located at 416 N. Main St., with the local American Legion Post 167. The ceremony will include a 21-gun salute.