Remember our veterans on Memorial Day
Posted on 05/25/2023
Mayor Brian Turnbull Dear Northvillians and friends, 

It’s truly my honor and pleasure to share a few words with you about Memorial Day. During my childhood, the remembrance ceremony at Rural Hill Cemetery was the most important part of the weekend for our family (and this tradition continues today).

Patriotism was part of our lives growing up, with my father a WWII Marine and my mother a “Rosie the Riveter” at Willow Run, working on the B24 Liberator bombers. Additionally, Armistice Day/Veterans Day (the day WWI ended on Nov. 11, 1918) was a day of remembrance in our home since my mother was born on that day.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank all our veterans, and their families, for their courage and dedication. This coming weekend is about remembering those who have served and sacrificed for our great nation.

Communities (like ours) throughout the country will similarly hold parades and will have solemn ceremonies. Locally, we will gather at 10 a.m. for a parade heading down Cady St., stopping briefly at Oakwood Cemetery for a 21-gun salute, and then end at Rural Hill (7 Mile and Rogers) at 11 a.m. for a short remembrance ceremony.

Memorial Day
The tradition of Memorial Day dates to 1868, shortly after the Civil War when it was named Decoration Day since that was the designated day to decorate the graves of lost loved ones. In 1968, Congress established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May, giving us time to commemorate all American military personnel who died at war for our country as well as a treasured three-day weekend.

Some people wear a red poppy in remembrance of our fallen soldiers, a tradition that began with a WWI poem. This year, it is my honor to be speaking at the VFW memorial gathering, paying homage to our brave men and women who have defended the ideals of this country.

Here’s what’s happening in Northville
Month of May – Chamber of Commerce Military Veteran Banners: There are more than 200 banners of our veterans in and around Downtown Northville. Walk around town and view our heroes’ pictures – slow down so you can take note of the names and faces that have defended our freedoms. See more about the banner display here

May 25, 2-5 p.m. – Northville Prom Event at Mill Race Village
May 26 -27 – Spring Flower Show (Northville Chamber), Downtown Northville. View more here

May 29 - Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony @ Rural Hill Cemetery (10 a.m. parade / 11 a.m. ceremony). View more here

June 10, 10 a.m. to noon – History and Restoration of Fish Hatchery, a talk by the mayor at Mill Race Village. I will cover its beginnings and recent improvements, and John O'Meara and Alice Baily from ECT will present the ongoing restoration efforts of this area. The lecture is sponsored by the Northville Historical Society, the Paul H. Young Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Friends of the Rouge. View more here

Thursday, June 8th – State of the Community. The City of Northville, Northville Township, and our School District will team up to review the State of the Community. It will be hosted this year at 7 p.m. at Township Hall (6 Mile/Sheldon) or tune in via Zoom. Obtain link

Memorial Day activities in Northville through the years

1868 – Decoration Day Northvillians joined in nationwide activities to start the tradition of gathering and remembering our local Civil War veterans by decorating their final resting place. This celebration started officially a year before The Northville Record began publication.

Looking back to 1918 The Northville Record published a story on Northvillian Lloyd Green, who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms in WWI. His final resting place is in the center of Rural Hill’s Veterans Memorial Gardens. Our American Legion Post is named in his honor.

Memorial Day gathering at Rural Hill Growing up, this was a cherished part of the weekend for our family. On this day, I played in the marching band and had the honor of performing “Taps.” As many of you have seen over the years, recognition of our veterans has truly been important to our community.

Veterans from all wars Our town has veterans in our cemeteries from the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and all the modern-era conflicts since.

In WWII, my father was a Proud Marine (is there any other kind?) and his final resting place is in Rural Hill. My dad would spend time at the Veterans Memorial area reminiscing about his friends who weren’t as lucky as he was to return after the war. Additionally, one of my brothers (who is no longer with us) later served during the Vietnam conflict.

VFW Post – We in the Northville community are truly indebted to the entire VFW Post for their dedication in organizing the annual Memorial Day event, working in coordination with the American Legion, which is helping with the parade activities. Additionally, I thank the volunteers for placing flags on all our fallen heroes’ gravesites each year and for the maintenance they provide for the Veterans’ portion of Rural Hill Cemetery. This memorial area was dedicated in 1952 and for 71 years, we have gathered here to honor our local veterans. Again, I thank our VFW Post, the American Legion, and the Scouts for their contributions at this annual memorial gathering.

Enjoy your upcoming Memorial Day weekend, and if you see a military veteran, thank them for the freedoms that we all have in this country today. Let’s continue to foster hope for a better tomorrow.

Brian Turnbull
Mayor – Northville
[email protected] / 248.505.6849

Veterans Day parade and signs for veterans organizations