Located on the Kalamazoo River at the East Gateway to the City of Kalamazoo, Rose Park is a beautiful memorial to veterans everywhere. Kalamazoo Sunrise Rotary has been involved in Rose Park since 1991, and led efforts to construct the memorial and beautify the park. Through generous contributions and support from organizations, and individuals, the Rose Park Veterans Memorial became a reality and many proud Rotarians and citizens witnessed the dedication on Veterans Day, November 11, 2001.
Nearly ten years after the dedication, we find ourselves in the present. It was time to refresh and renew the park. Our new lighting system, which replaced ground fixtures, is pole mounted, lighting the American Flags that fly proudly over the park at all times after dark. With community support, we met the goal to raise $50,000 to cover all expenses required to replace the ground fixtures and improve the lighting at the Park.
Kalamazoo Sunrise Rotary offers you the opportunity to make an online gift to the Rose Park Veterans Memorial Endowed Fund, at the Kalamazoo Community Foundation. Donations made to the endowed fund will be used for ongoing maintenance of the park.
Your gift to the Rose Park Veterans Memorial Endowed Fund is a gift to a component of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation. Because the Community Foundation has exclusive control over the contributed assets, your gift is subject to the Community Foundation's authority to redirect donations received to another beneficiary without approval if the purpose of the fund is deemed no longer widely beneficial or necessary, incapable of fulfillment, or inconsistent with the charitable needs of the community.
KALAMAZOO, MI – Hundreds braved the sweltering heat, lining the the streets to honor local veterans in this year's Memorial Day parade. With temperatures soaring to 85 degrees by mid-morning, high school bands and military groups toughed it out in full uniform along the 1.5-mile route in downtown Kalamazoo, beginning at Bronson Park and ending at Riverside Cemetery.
Dozens of organizations and individuals – from candidates for Kalamazoo County Prosecutor to peace protesters – took to the streets. Meanwhile, the Kalamazoo Central and Loy Norrix high school marching bands provided patriotic tunes. In a mishap that proved to be an inspiring display, three men pushed a vintage sports car full of World War II veterans for several blocks after the engine died, earning loud applause from bystanders.
The parade ended with a veteran's tribute ceremony at the base of Riverside Cemetery. Some listened to presentations on the Tuskegee Airmen – the first group of black pilots in the U.S. Army Air Corps – and the history of the national anthem, while others trekked up the steep hill to pray near graves of fallen soldiers.
"I play 'The Star-Spangled Banner' about 20 times a year, but I never really thought about what it meant," said Cassidy Strome, a sophomore in the Kalamazoo Central marching band. Strome gave a speech about the meaning of the national anthem. She said although America is not perfect, the citizens still have remained together through many wars and hardships like the Great Depression.
Some marched to end U.S. military presence overseas. The Kalamazoo Non-Violent Opponents of War and the Women in Black, two local peace advocacy groups, marched alongside each other. "In war, we tend to dehumanize whoever the enemy is," said Lois Dickason, a member of the Women in Black Kalamazoo chapter. "We stand in concern for all people lost in war."
Some veterans also came out to support an end to sending U.S. soldiers to the Middle East.
"I want to make sure I represent the veterans," said Robert Glidden, and 86-year-old Korean War veteran and lifetime Kalamazoo resident. "I wonder what we gain from all this fighting and loss of life ... It makes me wonder if it's worth it."
Two candidates for Kalamazoo County Prosecutor, Scott Pierangeli and Jeffrey Getting, shook hands with bystanders as they walked the route. State Rep. Sean McCann wooed the crowd with his dog Arnold – a rescued German Shepard mix – who helped him lead the Kalamazoo County Democratic party walkers. McCann is running against Republican challenger Michael Perrin for the 60th district seat in November.
Many children who lined the streets were most eager to scoop up candy from the pavement and hear horns from fire trucks. "The kids love parades," said Emily Fowler, who brought her 3-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter for the first time. "We're past the point of being afraid of the fire trucks, I think."
Kalamazoo Sunrise Rotary has a long commitment to our local Meals on Wheels program, associated with Senior Services, Inc. Every Monday, a club member is the driver as meals are distributed to local seniors who might not otherwise have access to a hot lunch. Meals on Wheels helps older adults remain independent in their homes by preparing home style meals in the state of the art kitchen located at Senior Services.
More information on this vital community program is available at