Coupeville readies parade, ceremony for veterans
By NATHAN WHALEN
Whidbey News Times Staff reporter
May 22, 2012 · Updated 1:38 PM
A community celebration this Saturday offers a chance to remember those who have given their lives for the United States.
Memorial Day weekend on Central Whidbey is highlighted by a community parade and remembrance ceremony that takes place Saturday in Coupeville.
“It’s a great day of celebrating and acknowledging our men and women in the service,” said Lynda Eccles, executive director of the Central Whidbey Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the Memorial Day events in Coupeville.
The parade kicks off at 11 a.m. with a flyover by a jet from Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. Eccles said the parade features approximately 80 entries ranging from community groups to veterans organizations. Those veterans groups include the Disabled American Veterans, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Intertribal Warrior Society. Pearl Harbor survivors and military personnel who recently returned from overseas will participate in the parade as well.
The parade route goes down North Main Street, then turns onto Front Street before winding onto Alexander and Coveland streets before finishing up at Town Park.
The remembrance ceremony takes place following the parade. State Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen will speak along with Cmdr. Michael O’Lear, commanding officer of Electronic Attack Wing Squadron 136 stationed at the base.
The Pearl Harbor survivors requested to perform a bell ceremony to acknowledge all of the veterans who gave their lives in all wars, Eccles said.
Following the remembrance ceremony, the Whidbey All-Island Band will perform a musical salute to the services. In past years, Navy Band Northwest performed following the ceremony; however, Eccles said it was decided to go with a local band this year.
Central Whidbey Lions Club members will also be busy cooking hot dogs as part of its annual town picnic. Prairie Center Red Apple donated the food for this year’s picnic and volunteers will be cooking until all of the food is consumed.
The annual parade and remembrance ceremony attracts thousands of people to Coupeville. It provides a low-key atmosphere to enjoy a nice spring day on Whidbey while honoring fallen veterans at the same time.
Contact Whidbey News Times Staff reporter Nathan Whalen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-675-6611 ext. 5058.