Detroit Veterans Day Parade honors those who served
Detroit – Spectators waved, cheered and thanked veterans for their service to the country on Sunday at the 17th annual Veterans Day Parade in Detroit.
The parade, which celebrates the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air Force and Space Force, was organized by the Metropolitan Detroit Veterans Coalition. It has been anchored in downtown Detroit since 2006.
Members of the military, other veterans and service organizations, ROTC programs and schools marched or drove through Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood on Sunday.
Gary Hanson, an Army veteran who served in the Vietnam War, marched along Trumbull Street during the parade. He was surprised there weren’t more attendees, since this year marks the 40th anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, which names more than 58,000 veterans who lost their lives during the war.
“We’re Vietnam vets, we’re old, we’re up there, so when we hit our 80s, you won’t see us walking,” Hanson said. “Afghan and Iraqi veterans, they want to raise families, they want to buy houses, the money isn’t there for them, the support isn’t there. They’re crazy and I don’t blame them.”
Past problems during the wars may have led to lower enrollment and participation, Hansen said. He began his service 50 years ago and has been on parade for over a decade.
“You need an army, because 9/11 showed that. You need someone to respond. You need people there,” Hanson said.
Two Rochester moms got their seats on Trumbull Street before the parade started to see their children play instruments in the Rochester High School Marching Band.
“I think it’s really good for young people to remember things that came before them,” Rochester mom Taryn Sudhoff said. “The part where we saw the death toll for veterans…it reminds you that you’re not just here to celebrate those who lived.”
Melissa Humbyrd accompanied Sudhoff and was happy to see her child walking in the group. Humbyrd said parades like the Veterans Day event are important. She is the daughter of a Vietnam veteran and her grandfathers both served in the First World War.
The exercise brought Karen Werden from Detroit to the parade, and she has many family members who have served the country. Her husband, father, father-in-law and son-in-law are veterans. So she ran during the parade alongside marchers, army trucks and other vehicles to support the cause.
“We still need our veterans and we need to recognize the people who serve,” said Werden, 58.
She has been coming to the parade for more than five years and said the weather and lack of awareness may have deterred others from participating in the parade. Werden were looking for a bigger turnout, but said they liked the mix of veterans and youngsters who came on Sunday.
“It makes us proud of Detroit…makes me proud of our country,”