Parade celebrates veterans, history in St. Clair Shores

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published May 30, 2017

 Joe Corna, of St. Clair Shores, watches the parade with his children, Kamryn, 3, and Cole, 2.

Joe Corna, of St. Clair Shores, watches the parade with his children, Kamryn, 3, and Cole, 2.

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While the threat of storms loomed over the 65th annual St. Clair Shores Memorial Day Parade, residents and visitors to the city enjoyed warm weather, sunshine and a stunning parade filled with veterans, military vehicles, bands and more.

This was the first year Dylan Hand, of St. Clair Shores, came out to the parade.

“My whole family is veterans and I am, as well,” he said. He and his sons sat on the side of Jefferson Avenue May 28 because he “just (wanted) to support the veterans ... and of course (for) the candy.”

The Salk family, of St. Clair Shores, watches the parade just about every year. This year, April Salk said her son would be marching with his karate studio, PKSA Karate.

Tradition and the meaning behind the day are big reasons they make time to enjoy the parade every year, she said.

“I like that every year we come and see lots of different things,” said her daughter, 7-year-old Lily Salk.

She said she was most excited to see the U.S. Coast Guard boat, the motorcycles and her dance teacher in the parade.

Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum of Selfridge Air National Guard Base, the Grand Marshal of this year’s parade, spoke before the parade officially kicked off about what Memorial Day means to him.

“Memorial Day is always interesting. They say they’re concerned when we go out and have a good time when we’re supposed to be celebrating those who gave their lives for our country, and we did this morning, we had (a ceremony) at the Veterans Memorial Park up the road,” he said at the parade grandstand in front of City Hall. “You know what, I’m guessing that they’d want us to have a good time, also.

“I don’t see a contradiction. I think it’s a great opportunity we have now to celebrate the men and women who have given so much for our country that allows days like this to happen.”

After a stirring rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Karen Newman of Detroit Red Wings fame, there was a flyover of the A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft from Selfridge, originally built in the 1980s.

“This thing is known as the whispering death,” Slocum said. “It’s fearsome, it’s low, it’s slow, it likes to get ugly. It really is an amazing, awesome airplane.

“It’s our hometown Air Force heroes, the men and women that work on it, fly it, make the mission happen that really are the heroes that we’ve got going with us today.”

Parade Committee fundraising and entry chairman Dave Rubello said that he estimated about 85,000 people showed up to watch the parade.

“Mother Nature spared us and it was the best parade I have ever seen or been associated with in my life,” he said. “It was breathtaking; it was humbling, to see all these people come out and honor the veterans and honor the fallen soldiers and support a community event like this.”

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