Veterans Day holds a special place in the hearts of many Michiganders. The annual November holiday, which honors veterans of the armed forces and those soldiers killed in action, pays tribute to thousands of Michiganders who served their country with honor.
Because of the high esteem with which veterans are held, dozens of cities and communities in the Mitten State have erected memorials to honor veterans of all conflicts, thereby offering many places to visit in Michigan on Veterans Day.
From sprawling memorials to museums to small, quiet tributes, there are plenty of spots to pay tribute to those who served in the armed forces and reflect on what the holiday really means.
Veterans Memorial Gardens
2074 N Aurelius Rd, Holt, MI 48842
The centerpiece of this park is the Veteran’s Memorial. It represents every branch of the military and lists local veterans who served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War.
Those who keep up the park have worked to beautify it, and that is evident in the many plantings and gardens around the park, including a butterfly garden.
Other features of the park include an amphitheater and a cascading water fountain. Also, the park has a Purple Heart Memorial, which pays tribute to those who were wounded or killed in action.
Additionally, the park has a POW/MIA Memorial, which honored those missing in action, as well as prisoners of war.
Fort Custer National Cemetery
15501 Dickman Rd, Augusta, MI 49012
Named for famed U.S. General George A. Custer, Fort Custer is one of two national cemeteries in Michigan. More than 30,000 veterans are interred there.
The cemetery features a wide variety of memorials — nearly three dozen, in fact — lined along a memorial pathway to honor the country’s veterans.
The cemetery’s main road features an Avenue of Flags — a row of more than 150 flag poles. There are also an additional 50 flags — one for each of the 50 states — arranged in a semicircle at the end of the road.
Muskegon Veteran’s Memorial Park
M.Causeway, Muskegon, MI 49445
Situated at the east end of Muskegon Lake, Veteran’s Memorial Park in Muskegon Michigan is located on 28 acres and honors veterans with several memorials.
On the north end of the park, visitors will find a Vietnam memorial. A fountain occupies the south end of the park. As visitors travel the Causeway, they can see both pieces.
Throughout the park, visitors can traverse along a walkway with a series of bronze plaques. These plaques have been purchased by those who wish to honor loved ones who have served.
Grand Rapids Veterans Memorial Park
101 Fulton St E, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
The park here includes pillars paying tribute to veterans who served in multiple conflicts. Initially, five pillars were constructed to honor those who served in WWII and the Korean War. In 1975, Vietnam War veterans were honored with the addition of two more pillars.
The annual Veteran’s Day parade in Grand Rapids begins on Division Street and continues south to eventually end at Veterans Memorial Park, where a Ceremony of Remembrance takes place.
Great Lakes National Cemetery
4200 Belford Rd, Holly, MI 48442
Established in 2005, this is one of the Mitten State’s two national cemeteries, along with Fort Custer. Across 544 acres, the cemetery has more than 23,000 interments, including veteran and former football player Lynn Chandnois.
The cemetery has several features, including a memorial wall, a committal shelter, and a visitor center. The memorial wall is inscribed with the names of veterans whose remains were not recovered or identified.
Michigan Vietnam Memorial at Island Park
331 N Main St, Mt Pleasant, MI 48858
Believe it or not, this is Michigan’s first Vietnam War memorial, and it pays tribute to Michiganders who served during that time.
Visitors here can spend time looking at more than a dozen plaques that commemorate the 2,705 casualties suffered during the war. A tranquil river adds to the park’s peacefulness, and there’s a flag gallery, a footbridge, and an information booth too.
410 W Michigan Ave, Jackson, MI 49201
Located at the western end of downtown Jackson, this park hosts Jackson’s Veterans Day ceremony each year. The park is named for Jackson native and former Civil War General William Withington.
Multiple monuments are in the park, honoring those who served. One of the most prominent statues is the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Statue, which was dedicated in July 1904.
Unknown Soldier Sculpture at Little Flanders Field
On the shores of Lake Huron in Northeast Michigan, Alpena annually honors veterans with a Veteran’s Day ceremony at Little Flanders Field.
There, visitors will find a sculpture that honors the unknown soldier, which was dedicated in 1987. The bronze statue depicts a soldier holding a rifle and wearing a helmet atop a stone pedestal with an inscription that reads, “Dedicated to the Unknown Soldier.” A reflecting pool also surrounds the pedestal.
Alpena’s Veteran’s Day ceremony at Little Flanders Field is well attended by residents and includes speeches, patriotic music, and the laying of wreaths to honor veterans.
6151 Portage Rd, Portage, MI 49002
The Air Zoo is a popular attraction in Southwest Michigan, and on Veterans Day, it hosts exhibits and activities that help the community understand just how important that day is.
On Veterans Day, veterans and their families are admitted to the Air Zoo free of charge. In past years, the museum has included a free breakfast for veterans, which provides a space for them and their guests to mingle and enjoy the Air Zoo.
Washtenaw County Vietnam Veterans Memorial
1944 Veterans Mem Dr, Ypsilanti, MI 48197
As the only Vietnam War memorial in Washtenaw County, this monument holds a special significance for local veterans.
The triangle-shaped, black granite memorial is designed to look almost exactly like the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. It’s five-sided, and each side represents a different branch of the military.
The names of those who died in action are listed by community, and three flags at the memorial are meant to represent three soldiers from Washtenaw County who are listed as missing in action.
Greater Plainwell Veterans Memorial
201-277 N Sherwood Ave, Plainwell, MI 49080
This memorial was dedicated on Veterans Day in 2009. The memorial offers visitors a place to quietly reflect, and the soft sounds of the Kalamazoo River add to the tranquility. Today, the GPVM stands as a fitting tribute to those who served and their families.
Traverse City Veterans Memorial Park
902-998 W Eleventh St, Traverse City, MI 49684
Dedicated in September 2011, the park features a large granite monument, which is inscribed with the names of veterans from the Grand Traverse area who have served in the military.
In 2017, Traverse City became the first city in Michigan to erect a Gold Star Mother Statue, and it was added to the park. The statue honors mothers whose children died in defense of the United States and depicts a mother sitting on a bench holding a folded American flag.
Michigan Vietnam Veterans Memorial
East of Hall of Justice, bet. Allegan & Ottowa Sts., W Ottawa St, Lansing, MI 48915
This memorial — designed by New York architect Alan Gordon — features a suspended, arc-shaped steel wall, measuring 110 feet high by 120 feet long that honors the 2,654 Michigan residents who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.
The casualties on the wall are listed on plaques in alphabetical order by county. On the north side of the wall is a timeline of events from the Vietnam War, spanning from 1959-1975. On the east side of the wall is a plaque that describes the memorial’s purpose.
Opposite the wall is a bench with metal plates, meant to represent casualties from the United States and its territories.
The Michigan WWII Legacy Memorial
200 S Troy St, Royal Oak, MI 48067
This project is the brainchild of architect Michael J. Gordon, and construction for this impressive memorial began in 2022 with the first phase of construction.
Phase one of the project includes the installation of flag poles to honor service members from all branches, the installation of more than 1,000 paver bricks for a Walk of Honor, the installation of the first statue, and pouring footings for future statues.
The long-term goal for the memorial is to build a Wall of Stars honoring more than 15,000 Michigan lives lost during WWII. The two-sided wall will measure 50 feet long and 10 feet high.
Also, the memorial features a map of Michigan that honors Michigan’s contributions to World War II, including Detroit’s contributions as “The Arsenal of Democracy.”
Bishop Park War Memorials
Van Alstyne St, Wyandotte, MI 48192
Located in Bishop Park along the Detroit River, there are memorials honoring veterans of the Vietnam War, WWI, and WWII, as well as a Purple Heart memorial. The Purple Heart monument was one of the first of its kind dedicated in the United States in 1943.
In addition, the park includes a Freedom Tree, which is dedicated to PFC—Gregory Rea Benton and all prisoners of war and those missing in action.
Michigan Fallen Heroes Memorial
1200 Telegraph Rd, Pontiac, MI 48341
This memorial honors firefighters and police officers from Michigan who lost their lives in the line of duty. It is the only memorial in Michigan to do this.
A bronze statue depicting a kneeling firefighter and a kneeling police officer was unveiled in 2022, and a granite wall etched with the names of the fallen was added in 2005.
The wall has more than 800 names on it, with the earliest dating back to 1864. Landscaping, brick pavers, and in-ground lighting were added in 2009 along with signage in 2010, creating a space for tribute and reflection.
Michigan’s Military Heritage Museum
311 N Wisner St, Jackson, MI 49202
President Abraham Lincoln once exclaimed, “Thank God for Michigan,” when the Mitten State’s troops reported for duty during the Civil War.
The museum’s mission is to preserve stories like that and so many others, as well as honor the thousands of Michiganders who have served their country.
Michigan has played a role in many U.S. conflicts, and the museum tells the stories of the everyday soldiers who served through artifact displays, pictures, oral and written histories, and so much more.
Veterans Memorial Park of Northeast Michigan
4400 N Skeel Ave, Oscoda, MI 48750
This park is located on about 6 acres and consists of a Pentagon Service Monument, a visitors center, and a Circle of Flags. Also, the park includes a Purple Heart Memorial and a Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
The Pentagon Service Monument simulates the Pentagon in Washington and is made up of 10 wall sections shaped to form five walls. On the inside, the wall sections are adorned with memorial blocks that display the service information of veterans.
The walls are lit at night by LED lights shining on each wall, and the outside wall sections will someday feature laser-engraved murals depicting different service branches and equipment.
More Spots to Visit on Veterans Day
- Washtenong Memorial Park — 3771 Whitmore Lake Rd in Ann Arbor
- Michigan War Veterans Memorial — Woodward Ave and W State Fair, Detroit
- Michigan Soldiers and Sailors Monument — Campus Martius Park, Detroit
- The War Memorial — 32 Lake Shore Dr, Grosse Pointe Farms
- Michigan War Dog Memorial — 25805 Milford Rd, South Lyon
- Veterans Memorial Garden of Westland — 6123 Central City Pkwy, Westland
- Belding War Memorial — 100 Depot St, Belding
- Rose Park Veterans Memorial — 645 E Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo
- Michigan State Firemen’s Memorial — 1337 Robinson Lake Rd, Roscommon
- Freedom Park — 305 W Elizabeth St, Fenton
- Michigan Heroes Museum — 1250 Weiss St, Frankenmuth
- Midland Veterans Memorial — 201-223 W Main St, Midland
- Civil War Memorial — 436 E Maumee St, Adrian
Plan Your Visit to a Michigan Veterans Memorial Today
With so many places to visit in Michigan on Veterans Day, you don’t have to travel far to honor a family member, a friend, or an acquaintance every November. Even if you don’t have a direct connection to a veteran, you can still travel to a veteran’s park to pay your respects.
These memorials in so many Michigan cities have been carefully planned and expertly crafted to stand out in their respective locations, but they’re also meant to be heartful tributes to every single soldier who served the United States.
As Veterans Day draws closer, make plans to visit a Michigan Veterans memorial. It’s a great way to pay tribute and a good way to remember those who served to protect the freedoms we hold so dear.