Senate honors fallen heroes during Memorial Day Service

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Thursday welcomed veterans, Blue Star Mothers and family members of fallen soldiers to the Capitol for the annual Senate Memorial Day Service.

The event, which is held every year on the Thursday before Memorial Day, serves as an occasion to remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice, as well as pay tribute to the families of fallen soldiers.

“It is always a humbling occasion to welcome all of the brave men and women who fought on our behalf to the Capitol for this event,” said state Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford. “Some of us will never know the feeling of a loved one giving their life in defense of our freedoms, but for those who have, they will forever be affected by this loss, and the rest of us will forever be in their debt.”

Thursday’s ceremony marked the 23rd anniversary of the Memorial Day service, which began and was first hosted by former state senator and U.S. Congressman Mike Rogers. This year’s keynote speaker was Major General Gregory Vadnais, the adjutant general of the Michigan National Guard and the director of Military and Veterans Affairs for Michigan.

The event also serves as a special recognition for those from our home state who have lost their lives during the past year.

“Unfortunately we did have one fallen hero from Michigan at this year’s ceremony,” MacGregor said. “My heart goes out to the family of Lt. Col. Flando Jackson in this most difficult time. Jackson, who was active duty with the Washington Air National Guard exhibited the highest form of patriotism and is no doubt a hero to each and every one of us here in this chamber.”

MacGregor added that life as we know it would not exist without the heroic actions of the men and women of the armed services.

“As we stand here today, we honor those who served, those who are currently serving, and especially those who gave it all,” MacGregor said. “There is no greater sacrifice — and to those who answered our nation’s call and put themselves in harm’s way, we will forever be indebted.”

Video of Thursday’s ceremony can be found here and photos can also be found online by clicking here.