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On This Memorial Day...

On This Memorial Day...

Memorial Day
By: Brian Geer, Charlie Poat & Dan Carroll

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) has just released its May 2016 edition of its official magazine. It highlights the 150th Anniversary this year of the Memorial Day Tradition to recognize those who lost their life defending our country, freedoms and way of life. Being engineers, we tend to gravitate to the statistics, which in this case can be overwhelming to consider. Looking back at the last 241 years, the US has lost some 1.2 million Americans in 83 different wars. The loss is staggering and stirs many different emotions with all Americans.

As President Lincoln cites in the Gettysburg Address 'It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.' President Lincoln is speaking of the horrific loss of life at Gettysburg and of the struggle to sustain a country, but his words hold true and why we at MSG take such pride in the projects we describe below. These memorials and landmarks help remind us of the ideals and protections that our country aspires to provide. These projects keep the memories of the brave individuals lost at the forefront, as permanent reminders of the struggle America has had to face to make it to today, and how we all should continue to strive to be a better society and Country.

The City of Dearborn is relocating the Veterans Memorial from the old City Hall location to a new prominent site at the Centennial Library. The City of Dearborn Memorial Day Parade will end the ceremonial procession at the new memorial grounds. The City of Dearborn has contracted Neumann Smith (NS) and The Mannik & Smith Group, Inc. (MSG) to perform comprehensive professional consulting services for the memorial. MSG is proud to be part of this memorial project that honors the men and women who have served in our armed forces and have sacrificed to provide the citizens of the United States a high standard quality of life, based on the freedoms of a democratic society. The City of Dearborn's Veterans Memorial will display wartime monuments, honor each branch of service, flags and a historical timeline of Dearborn all composed around a formal landscape plaza setting.


As Memorial Day approaches, MSG reflects on our fortune of having the opportunity to conduct professional consulting services on a wide range of important facilities that have had significant roles in our country's military history. A major influence has been our citizen's response to wartime preparedness to convert our industrial facilities to support military operation overseas. MSG has had the opportunity to work with both public and private sector leaders to sustain continued life for some of Michigan and Ohio's most iconic industrial facilities. MSG has provided planning, grant writing, environmental compliance, due diligence and engineering from conception through to construction of the following magnificent facilities:

The Rouge Industrial Complex, Dearborn, Michigan: Redevelopment shifts the paradigm of industrial manufacturing as an icon of sustainable production. Based on a personal request from President Woodrow Wilson to Henry Ford in 1917, The existing Rouge facility (which was at the time producing Model A's) shifted production to Eagle Class Patrol Boats, which were WWI anti-submarine warfare boats to combat the menace of the German U-Boat during the war.


MSG converted the existing industrial complex into a green infrastructure facility by installing sustainable landscapes, comprehensive LID storm water management systems, and upgrading a reduced network of roadways. The Henry Ford Visitor Center (on site) provides narrative description and vantage points for learning about the "Greening of the Rouge".


Willow Run Industrial Complex, Ypsilanti, Michigan: Once the setting for the "Arsenal of Democracy," where Rosie the Riveter built the B-24 Liberator heavy bomber. At the time of the construction of the main structure in 1941, it was believed to be the largest factory under one roof anywhere in the world. It was believed that of the total number of B-24 bombers produced during WWII, over half of them came from the Willow Run Plant.


MSG assisted in the decommissioning of the property and transforming the grounds for a world class automated & driverless vehicle test facility helping to solidify southeast Michigan as the center of automotive technology.


For more information on the history and vision of these important landmarks, please visit, and

If you would like to read more on the VFW article noted above, please follow the link below;