Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer. It’s also the day when throngs of people line the sidewalks of cities and small towns across the state to watch marching bands and politicians parade down the street.
Crystal Schonfeld watched the parade in Dearborn with her mother. Her brother, Army National Guard Sergeant Michael Derome, is scheduled to return home from Afghanistan on Thursday.
“So it means a lot," said Schonfeld. "He earned a Purple Heart, and a Bronze Star. So today represents him and my grandfather who served in World War II. So it just means a lot to our family.”
U.S. Senator Carl Levin was one of the parade’s grand marshals.
Levin chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, and has been a vocal supporter of closing the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. President Obama renewed his push for the facility’s closure in a recent speech.
But Levin says Congress remains unwilling to transfer some detainees to the U.S. for trial.
"And that’s a mistake," Levin said. "It’s the only way we’re going to be able to close Guantanamo, which we should do. It’s extremely expensive and it’s been a stain on the United States."
Levin says Guantanamo serves as a recruiting tool for extremists.