Veterans to skip Memorial Day Parade in Royal Oak

American Legion, VFW, and Disabled American Veterans have opted not to attend parade

Several local veterans are skipping the Memorial Day Parade in Royal Oak. They say they’re upset with how the route was changed. It’s no secret how the veterans have been butting heads with the City of Royal Oak over the memorial and its location.

ROYAL OAK, Mich. – Several local veterans are skipping the Memorial Day Parade in Royal Oak. They say they’re upset with how the route was changed.

It’s no secret how the veterans have been butting heads with the City of Royal Oak over the memorial and its location.

There’s also significant construction on Main Street. But it’s the veterans who say that it’s the suitable alternate route that they feel could’ve been found at the location, and it wasn’t, and frankly, the veterans say they feel disrespected.

“I’m known as parade Willy,” said Royal Oak Veterans Events Committee John Williams.

Even though Williams likes to say, “It’s about the cause, not the applause,” he does love a parade where veterans get their just due.

“Let’s get our flags, our banners, and let them know there are veterans out there that are proud to be veterans, and we are proud to be a part of your community.”

This year is different as The American Legion, The VFW, and the Disabled American Veterans have all opted not to participate in the 2022 Royal Oak’s Memorial Day Parade.

With Main Street a construction mess, the route became shorter and curvier, making it more difficult for the Legion’s float on which almost two dozen disabled veterans ride.

“They have to pull off after a few blocks not see the spectators and not let the spectators see them,” Williams said. “It just doesn’t work for us.”

“Our input has been diminished tremendously across the last few years, and we don’t like it,” said Tom Roth of the American Legion Committee.

Roth says it’s not just the parade route but the city and police department’s unwillingness to discuss an alternate route with them.

“Quite frankly, we know it’s not about us,” Roth said. “It’s not about the city. It’s not about anything, it’s about those who have given the ultimate sacrifice, and we just want to be part of that. But the parade part just became too much of a mess.”

This whole mess is why the groups will be attending the memorial for the ceremony on Monday, but they’re foregoing the parade.


About the Authors:

Jason anchors Local 4's 5:30 p.m. newscast. He joined WDIV in January 2015 as a general assignment reporter and has a Journalism degree from Michigan State University.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.