Larry Saville’s roots go deep into Ferndale. He is a member of the Ferndale High School class of ’72, and the Saville family has lived on West Hazelhurst for over 30 years. Larry has long been known as a great neighbor, ready and willing to help out with snow shoveling, yard clean up and other projects. He is also an avid gardener. His gardening shows in front of the Saville house and along the Woodward Avenue side of First United Methodist Church. Those of us who know Larry regard him as a genuine friend and a man with a quiet and passionate reverence for life. His reverence for life includes a respect for the dead, particularly those who have died in service to their country. It was this reverence that prompted Larry to do something to honor the Michigan men and women who have died in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Michigan’s Fallen grew from the idea that Larry had – a way to acquaint us all with the war dead and to reinforce the traditional meaning of Memorial Day. He wanted to include each of the fallen in Ferndale’s Memorial Day parade: a portrait of each, along with hometown, branch of service and date of death. Larry enlisted and attracted the help of dozens of volunteers to make his idea a reality. Those of us who marched with Michigan’s Fallen or witnessed the parade last year know that we saw something extraordinary. Men, women and children who may have had differing opinions about the legitimacy and conduct of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq all came together to make it happen. Each of them strongly felt that Michigan’s Fallen was an obligation and a privilege. Neighbors from Ferndale and surrounding communities together created an event we will not forget – and something we can build on this year.