Memorial Day parade planning underway

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published April 5, 2016

 Sasha, a pit bull belonging to Eastpointe’s Scott Riney, sits with her family as they watch the city’s 2014 Memorial Day parade. After skipping 2015 due to a lack of funds, the event is set to return this May.

Sasha, a pit bull belonging to Eastpointe’s Scott Riney, sits with her family as they watch the city’s 2014 Memorial Day parade. After skipping 2015 due to a lack of funds, the event is set to return this May.

File photo by Sean Work

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EASTPOINTE — Planning for the annual Memorial Day parade set for the holiday itself — May 30 — is already underway in Eastpointe.

Charley Jackson, one of the organizers of this year’s event and East Detroit Public Schools Board of Education vice president, said the parade is set to begin at City Hall on Gratiot and head north to Stephens Road, where it will turn east and terminate at Kennedy Park. It is scheduled to start at 11 a.m.

“Immediately after, there’s a little bit of a ceremony of recognition of those who served our country,” Jackson said.

Mayor Suzanne Pixley said at a council meeting March 15 that a small community picnic will be held at Kennedy Park following the parade and ceremony, and it will feature the high school and middle school bands. After the picnic has concluded, the Eastpointe Lions Club will be providing bus rides from the park back to where participants are parked, she said.

Jackson said the organizers — including the Knights of Columbus, Pixley and himself — are working on fundraisers to finance the event. A raffle for Detroit Tigers season tickets concluded April 5, and while Jackson said they are working on additional fundraisers, he had nothing to announce at this time.

“It’s an expensive endeavor to fundraise to support the parade, but we want to honor those who served our country,” Jackson said.

The parade formerly was organized by the city itself, but that ceased years ago, Jackson said. The Knights of Columbus took up the organizing baton, he added, though the parade was canceled in 2015 due to a lack of finances. The city instead hosted a service at the veterans memorial next to City Hall.

Pixley said during the March 15 City Council meeting that the parade costs $8,000 to put on, but after the raffle sales, they should only have an additional $1,000 left to raise. That money is used to pay for the police and Department of Public Works salaries needed to operate the parade successfully.

“The best part of the Memorial Day parade is the community involvement,” Pixley said. “The Knights of Columbus started it; they’re working with the city. We have a school district representative, a number of veterans groups and the military museum (involved). It’s a group of 15 different entities — service and fraternal organizations.”

Church representatives and the Oddfellows are also on the leadership committee, she said, and members of local Scout troops and the Eight Mile and Kelly Homeowners Association have been invited. Planning for the parade started in January, Pixley said, with the Knights of Columbus being the primary movers of the event.

So far, Jackson said, veterans, local elected leaders and other Eastpointe representatives are planning to be in the parade.

Anyone interested in getting involved can contact Jackson at (586) 298-1520 or by email at trusteecharleyjackson@gmail.com.

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