Mayor Ken Siver, Army veteran Barbara Seldon and Southfield Veterans Commission Chairperson Gerald Houston salute the flag Nov. 8 outside Southfield City Hall.

Mayor Ken Siver, Army veteran Barbara Seldon and Southfield Veterans Commission Chairperson Gerald Houston salute the flag Nov. 8 outside Southfield City Hall.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Southfield celebrates veterans in ceremony

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published November 12, 2019

 Air Force veteran Lonnie Bennett, of Southfield, salutes the flag during taps. Bennett served in the Vietnam war and is chaplain of the Southfield VFW.

Air Force veteran Lonnie Bennett, of Southfield, salutes the flag during taps. Bennett served in the Vietnam war and is chaplain of the Southfield VFW.

Photo by Deb Jacques

SOUTHFIELD — There are many ways to honor those who served in the military, but the simplest way is to just say “thank you,” according to Gerald Houston, chairperson of the Southfield Veterans Commission.

At 11 a.m. on Nov. 8, the city of Southfield hosted its annual Veterans Day celebration in the council chambers at Southfield City Hall, 26000 Evergreen Road.

Mayor Ken Siver hosted the event, which featured remarks from Houston and audience tributes to veterans, either living or deceased.

Siver and members of the Southfield Veterans Commission placed a wreath at the Veterans Memorial Garden in front of City Hall, followed by a moment of silence, a 21-gun salute and the playing of taps by Paul Roche, of Bugles Across America.

Joshua Berg, ministerial intern at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church, offered the invocation and benediction, and the Southfield A&T advanced choir sang several selections, including the Armed Forces Medley.

“Few groups deserve recognition, respect and gratitude more than the brave men and women who have served in the U.S. military. These outstanding individuals have sacrificed so much so that we can preserve our way of life,” Houston said. “This November, we would like to extend our sincere thanks to veterans that have served so selflessly and courageously.”

Houston offered the audience a list of five ways to honor veterans: saying “thank you,” treating them to a cup of coffee or lunch, volunteering with a local veterans organization, donating to a cause that supports veterans, and attending local Veterans Day celebrations.

“No matter where you live or how much time you have to dedicate, there are a multitude of ways, really, that we can honor veterans,” he said. “Veterans who have spent time defending our values and democracy.”

During the tributes, Sgt. Stephanie Shannon, the founder and CEO of nonprofit Michigan Women Veterans Empowerment, praised Houston and the Southfield Veterans Commission for embracing women veterans.

Shannon said she started the nonprofit after facing difficulty, herself, after the military.

“It was very difficult coming out here. We’re the most underserved population,” Shannon said. “Women’s veterans services are not very accessible.”

Shannon said the group is hosting a community conversation 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 16 at the Southfield Parks and Recreation building, 26000 Evergreen Road.

The event is free and open to the public and will feature a handful of speakers on the topic of veterans’ services.

For more information, visit empowermiwomenvets.com.