Thursday, October 8, 2020

In memoriam

Wayne dedicates tribute to veterans of armed services

A large crowd gathered last Wednesday to celebrate the official dedication of the new veterans' memorial located adjacent to Wayne City Hall. 

The memorial, a volunteer project funded by citizen donations, members of UAW Local 900 and a matching grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp., began as a grassroots effort in 2016 when veterans in the community suggested the project. 

Members of the UAW Local 845 were moving the union headquarters and suggested moving the monument from the former site to Wayne. 

That memorial, which honors all armed service members, was incorporated into the completely new tribute dedicated last week.

A funding drive for donations collected more than $35,000 for the installation which includes a new flag pole and American flag along with necessary footings, the excavation and pavement installation, lighting, the striping of newly-designated handicapped accessible veterans only parking spaces near the monument, benches, landscaping and signage.

Donations will also fund 5 years of maintenance at the site, officials said.

During the dedication ceremony last week, the Wayne Memorial High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) under the direction of First Sgt. Albert Phoenix presented the colors for the official flag raising while members of the Wayne Memorial High School Zebra marching Band under the direction of Michael Wolf played the Star Spangled Banner, TAPS and a medley of patriotic music. Wayne Police Chief Ryan Strong, Wayne/Westland Fire Chief Michael Stradtner and Wayne Deputy Fire Chief/Fire Marshal Jeremie Schneider led the assembled crowd in the pledge of allegiance and Wayne police officers Jordan Arndt and  Joshua Priebe and Wayne Fire Department Capt. Dave Wylie officiated at the raising of the American and  POW/MIA flag. All three men are veterans. Other speakers included committee members Mayor John Rhaesa, City Manager Lisa Nocerini, Department of Public Works Assistant Director Ed Queen, Buildings and Engineering Department/ Building Official Michael Buiten and Lori Gouin, Community Development/DDA director.

The keynote address was presented by Col. Charles L. Cone, United States Air Force, retired and  Chris Miller, a member of UAW Local 900 spoke. Both the invocation and closing prayer were led by Pastor Seth McDonald of Hill Crest Bible Church.

The effort was led by members of the Wayne Veteran's Memorial Committee including Rhaesa; Mayor Pro Tem Thomas Porter; Mike Smith, UAW Local 900; Chris Miller, UAW Local 900 member; Alison Hug, UAW Local 845; Nocerini;  Gouin;   Buiten,   Queen; Wayne Department of Public Works Assistant Director Kathryn Sample and Wayne Finance Director and Lloyd Allen, an honorary member and UAW Local 900 retiree.

The audience was filled with Wayne veterans and their families. The memorial is now open to the public.