Memorial Day parades planned in Roseville, Eastpointe

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published May 20, 2014

 A car representing Roseville seniors drives along in the 2012 Roseville Memorial Day parade. Both Roseville and Eastpointe’s parades are scheduled for the morning of Memorial Day itself.

A car representing Roseville seniors drives along in the 2012 Roseville Memorial Day parade. Both Roseville and Eastpointe’s parades are scheduled for the morning of Memorial Day itself.

ROSEVILLE/EASTPOINTE — The annual Memorial Day parades are on track for both Roseville and Eastpointe, though both cities are looking at new routes for their respective events.

For Eastpointe, the new route is a return to the traditional one, according to Michael Haughey, a parade organizer with the Knights of Columbus. The Knights are sponsoring the parade there, along with the organization Catholic War Veterans of the U.S.

The parade provides an opportunity for communities to honor veterans and those who have given their lives throughout U.S. history, Haughey said, which is something he is thankful that the city supports doing year after year.

Haughey said the parade will start at Eastpointe City Hall at 11 a.m. May 26 and make its way down Gratiot Avenue to Stephens Road. From there, it will turn and head toward its endpoint, Kennedy Park. The parade lineup begins at 10 a.m.

“The past couple years, due to construction and a water main break, we have had to alter the parade route, but it should be back to normal,” Haughey said. “As in many years past, we will end up in Kennedy Park with a brief ceremony following the parade.”

Due to the closure of the Roseville Veterans of Foreign Wars post, local resident Michelle Glandon is organizing the Roseville parade. Glandon said she first heard on April 28 that the VFW was not sponsoring a parade, so she has been scrambling with the city to get something in place.

Due to the abbreviated planning timetable, the parade will have a route not on Gratiot this year. It will instead start on Common Road, just east of Utica Road, and move east on Common before turning south on Pfc. Wetzel Drive to end at the VFW Memorial.

“There’s upcoming construction, and (the city) thought it would be easier to do it on Common,” Glandon said. “Plus, time is against us to get (Michigan Department of Transportation) approval to shut down Gratiot.”

The parade is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. May 26 in Roseville, with the lineup scheduled for 9 a.m., Glandon said.

This is the third year that the Knights of Columbus are running the Eastpointe parade, Haughey said. Initially, the Council of Fraternal and Veterans Organizations put on the parade, but then the group became defunct, he said. Since the Knights did not want to see such a longtime tradition go away, they took it over for 2012.

Haughey said that approximately 30-40 different organizations have made plans to participate, including the local Boy Scouts, the East Detroit High School marching band, the Lions Club, the Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter, U.S. naval cadets, and the American Youth Soccer Organization. The Michigan Military & Technical Museum will be providing one of its jeeps for the parade.

A few parade marshals will be on hand during the lineup at City Hall, though Haughey said everyone has done this for so many years that it should go pretty smoothly.

“They know where to line up and who to contact, but there is a fair amount of logistics that go into planning,” he said. “We get a couple new organizations (each year) that would want to participate, and over the years a few drop out, so part of it is just getting the information to the right contact person.”

Without the VFW providing assistance in Roseville, Glandon said help has come for her from the City Manager’s Office, which has been helpful in setting the route and tackling other organizational challenges.

She is working on getting sponsorship from local businesses to help defray the costs to the city of putting on the parade, which includes police, fire, and public works employees’ overtime. Glandon said a spaghetti dinner is being scheduled at St. Athanasius Catholic Church from 4-8 p.m. June 12 as a fundraiser both to help cover this year’s Memorial Day parade costs and to work toward next year’s.

Glandon said she is starting to hear back from local organizations interested in participating in the parade. As of May 12, she said the Roseville High School and two middle school bands are scheduled, as are the Police and Fire departments and the Roseville Honor Guard. A local church is bringing a float, she added.

The participation of local dignitaries, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and veterans is being worked out.

People interested in participating can contact Glandon prior to the parade at (586) 215-3724.

The ceremony at the VFW Memorial likely will include laying wreaths and some as-yet undetermined speakers, she said. In all, Glandon believes it should be a quick series of events, though she added that with the parade still taking shape, exactly how long it will take is up in the air.

“In years past, I know it’s been pretty quick, so I’m hoping the whole thing is done in an hour and a half at the max,” Glandon said. “The parade itself may be 25 minutes, but maybe not. It may be longer because I’m still working on getting people to participate.”

The military museum will be open in Eastpointe for Memorial Day weekend from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday, and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Memorial Day itself.