Kalamazoo celebrates Memorial Day with the return of the annual parade
KALAMAZOO — Kalamazoo’s annual Memorial Day Parade returned on Monday, May 30, after being canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Spectators gathered in the streets of downtown Kalamazoo to watch various local groups and political campaign teams marching the parade route from the Kalamazoo County Courthouse at 227 W. Michigan Ave. to Riverside Cemetery at 1015 Gull Road.
The Michigan Youth Challenge Academy performed a military cadence that included the chant: “They asked me what I wanted to be, I said an airborne ranger.”
The parade was co-sponsored by Charlie’s PLACE Youth Organization and the Rotary Club of Kalamazoo Sunrise.
Chereyl Teake said she attends Memorial Day parades every year in Kalamazoo, Portage or elsewhere.
“This one is amazing,” Teake said. “It was more than I expected, I think it’s a sign of the times that we (are) really coming back.”
Organizations such as the Douglas Community Association, the Ecumenical Senior Center and local Boy Scout troops handed out candy and American flags to community members. Integrity Martial Arts and the Suicide Squad dance team stopped to perform intermittently on the course.
For Teake, watching the parade can be a moving moment that brings to mind those who serve in the military.
“I … cry almost every day when I think about the things that are going on and it’s a way for us to at least come together in peace and harmony,” Teake said.
Jefferey and Brandon Fields, brothers who previously attended the Kalamazoo Memorial Day Parade in 2019, echoed that sentiment.
“Today is so important…because of all the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice overseas to give us the rights we have today,” said Jefferey Fields.
Jefferey Fields was thrilled that Kalamazoo seemed to be getting back to normal and looks forward to more parades in the years to come.
“I hope it gets bigger and bigger,” said Jeffery Fields. “It’s a day for all Americans to celebrate. I was hoping to see a lot more people here, but the people who came came out to celebrate.
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