MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - Meridian Township honored our fallen heroes early this afternoon with the a Memorial Day Service at Glendale Cemetery.
This is the 25th year Meridian Township has held this service beginning in 1994 under former Township Clerk Virginia White and continued on through the years.
The event kicked off at noon with pre-ceremony bagpipes and the boy scouts color guard placing the flag in front of the gathering tent with drum cadence.
The Meridian Community Band played an assortment of patriotic music including the History of Armed Service Songs to honor those who were at the event and served in all parts of the U.S. military.
“Many of our residents are in fact veterans of either the military or military and combat,” said Township Treasurer Phil Deschaine. “So, it’s really important that we recognize their service and recognize those that gave their lives.”
Following the Pledge of Allegiance, Clerk Brett Dreyfus led the ceremony including a presentation called “Our Amazing American Flag” with interesting facts not everyone knows about our countries flag.
Dennis Southey, an army veteran who served two years in Vietnam, was the guest speaker for the event. Southey told his story during and after coming home from the war and how hard it was to readjust. He touched on the emotional aspects of dealing with war and how post traumatic stress disorder changed his life. Southey learned to deal with PTSD by seeking help from those around him and chose to speak at the Memorial Day Service to take a healthy risk talking about his experience in the army and what this holiday means to him.
“I just stay home and spend time reflecting on that time in Vietnam,” Southey said. “Not mourning, but just, reflecting on my experience over there and how grateful I am today that I’m okay and hopefully other guys are getting better too.”
Deschaine said after hearing Southey speak, Memorial Day has a new meaning to him.
“Unless you’re serving on combat, as I have not, my father did and my brother did, but I did not, you don’t know those wounds and having someone speak before this community to see the sacrifice they made for us, for our freedom, is very moving,” he said.
The service concluded with playing taps while the folding of the flag ceremony took place. The Okemos girl scouts provided refreshments, free cookies and commemorative pins to those in attendance.
Meridian Township will continue to carry on the tradition of honoring and respecting the brave men and women who served in the military and those who have stepped up to protect the nation.