Dearborn Memorial Day Parade, May 28th, 2007
A flyover of an F-16 fighter aircraft from Selfridge Air National Guard Base provided the traditional kickoff signal to start Dearborn’s 83rd annual Memorial Day Parade.
A Dearborn tradition, the parade is Michigan’s oldest continuous tribute to those who have given their lives while serving in America’s armed forces.
One of the country’s finest military bands, the 2nd Marine Air Wing Band, led the Parade and performed in the remembrance ceremony that followed.
Other Parade highlights included flyovers by historical military aircraft, members of many veterans’ organizations, and bands from several local schools, youth groups and community organizations.
The grand marshal is U.S. Army Colonel Valerie Ratliff. A veteran of the conflicts in both Afghanistan and Iraq, she currently serves as the military assistant and executive officer to the United States Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy. This branch of the government is directly responsible for the programs and policies that support military service members and their families.
This year, the parade bore particular significance to Dearborn’s sizeable Arab American community. In association with Michigan State District Representative Gino Polidori, and Dearborn City Councilwoman Suzanne Sareini, the Association of Patriotic Arab Americans in Military marched in the parade.
It was the first march or participation of a national level of Arab American Veterans Organization in a high profile Memorial Day Parade.
The march paid honor to the memory, service and sacrifice of all Americans who have lost their lives for the defense of America, but also in recognition of the many heroes from the Arab American Community who have served and sacrificed their lives during the over 230 years of American history – from Army Private Nathan Badeen who died in 1776 during the Revolutionary War to Marine Corporal Salem Bachar who recently died in Iraq in 2005.
Arab Americans have served in every conflict since the Revolutionary War, and in this time of national conflict, it is imperative, in the spirit of community and national solidarity, that we honor such heroes. Memorial Day served as the perfect outlet to educate us all on the patriotism of the Arab American community.