Senate recognizes Michigan’s fallen soldiers during annual Memorial Day tribute

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Thursday honored the Michigan residents who answered the call to service and made the ultimate sacrifice defending America during a special ceremony organized by Sen. Michael D. MacDonald.

“For the past 25 years, the Michigan Senate has suspended its session activities for one day around Memorial Day to remember the men and women who have died in service to our country,” said MacDonald, R-Macomb Township. “It was a tremendous honor to have been asked to lead this year’s service to pay tribute to the Michigan service members who made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedom and way of life.

The Senate’s 25th Annual Memorial Day Service honored the sacrifices of all Michigan’s fallen soldiers and featured a tribute to Pfc. Michael A. Thompson, who was killed in April while serving in Operation Inherent Resolve in Syria.

The keynote speaker for the ceremony was U.S. Army veteran Brian Daniels, who was awarded the Purple Heart Medal for the wounds he received in combat in the Iraq War.

In 2005, Daniels was the sole survivor from his HUMVEE after the truck was blown up by an improvised explosive device. After learning to walk again, he ended his military career and became a personal trainer in New York before moving home to Michigan to raise his son. Last year, Daniels and his business partner opened a boxing and fitness studio in Lansing, where he uses his life experiences to help others find their strength.

MacDonald introduced Joe Castiglia of Sterling Heights to perform the National Anthem. Castiglia is a Wayne State University student and recently had the opportunity to sing for the president of the United States.

“This weekend, people are gathering throughout our nation to grieve, to remember, to honor, and to pay respect to those who have given their lives in service to our country,” MacDonald said. “This service is one spark in the flame of pride that burns across the nation today and every day. It is one small way we can honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can live in freedom.”

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Editor’s note: The above photographs are available by clicking on the images or by visiting https://www.SenatorMichaelMacDonald.com/photos/.