The Forty & Eight train, which is a big attraction for children and adults alike, will be on display at cruise headquarters following the parade.
Military will cruise Gratiot Avenue in the ‘Forty & Eight’ train
The American Legion Post 4 will honor the Gratiot Cruise in Clinton Township with its presence Aug. 7.
“We will be marching in front of the cruise’s opening parade,” said Len Stachnik, vice-commander of the post. “The color guard will include the American flag, which I’ll be carrying, a POW flag, our post color flag and two riflemen. The Forty & Eight train will be following along behind us.”
The train is courtesy of the post’s Forty & Eight Club, an organization of veterans such as Stachnik, who are dedicated to helping local charities and promoting patriotism through community events such as the Gratiot Cruise.
The name of the group derives from its history. During World War I, Americans were transported to the battlefront on French boxcars stenciled with “40/8,” denoting its capacity to hold either 40 men or eight horses. The Forty & Eight was founded in 1920 and was originally an arm of The American Legion. Post 4’s vehicle is a train-like shell over a truck body.
Stachnik said the parade starts on the southeast corner of Metro Parkway and Gratiot Avenue, proceeds north toward Wellington Crescent, then goes south on Gratiot Avenue to 14 Mile Road, and back north. Veterans will complete their flag and rifle ceremony and ride the Forty & Eight train.
Additionally, Lt. j.g. Kevin MacFarland, a U.S. Naval Sea Cadet, will sing the national anthem prior to the start of the parade.
“This cruise is a pretty big deal,” said Stachnik. “There are things for the kids to do, and the car dealers are involved, and there will be food along the strip.
“It’s going to be a good size parade,” he said. “This is the first year the military is involved, and we are very excited about them having us there.”
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Provided by The News Herald