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Coupeville parade to feature five Pearl Harbor survivors
Five Pearl Harbor survivors will visit Central Whidbey Island this weekend. They are an integral part of the town of Coupeville’s remembrance of Memorial Day.
They will join their fellow veterans, along with representatives from community organizations and students, in Coupeville’s annual event that includes a parade down Main Street beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Participants will walk on Front Street, Alexander Street and Coveland Street through downtown Coupeville before ending up in Town Park. Following the parade is a remembrance ceremony and a hot dog lunch organized by the Central Whidbey Lions Club and sponsored by Prairie Center Red Apple.
The five Pearl Harbor veterans will travel in classic cars down the parade route. Those survivors are Jim Stansell, who served on the USS Hull, Cecil Calavan, who served on the USS Utah, Harold Johnson, who served on the USS Oklahoma, Anthony Nady, who served on the USS Nevada and Harold Shimer, who served on the USS Helena.
Lynda Eccles, executive director for the Coupeville Chamber of Commerce, noted a couple of other veterans who will participate in the ceremony. Bill Etheridge, who was a prisoner of war in World War II along with Walter Nelson, who is 96 years old and served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
Eccles said it is “just incredible” that World War II veterans are still around to participate in the parade and ceremony.
The 2013 version of the Memorial Day parade boasts around 70 entries.
This year’s parade welcomes a grand marshal, who is Janice Vaughan, manager of Whidbey Island Bank. The Coupeville branch of Whidbey Island Bank was named the Coupeville Chamber of Commerce’s “Business of the the Year” several months ago.
The crowds of people after the parade will walk to Town Park, where they can enjoy a hot dog lunch prepared by the Central Whidbey Lions Club and the food provided by Prairie Center Red Apple.
A remembrance ceremony will take place at Town Park. Coupeville Mayor Nancy Conard and Capt. Michael Nortier, commanding officer at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, will speak.
The event will also feature a bell ceremony conducted by the Pearl Harbor survivors and the All Island Community Band will perform a “Musical Salute to the Troops.”
Coupeville’s Memorial Day activities in previous years included a flyover from a plane stationed at NAS Whidbey and a performance from Navy Band Northwest. Eccles said both the flyover the band weren’t available this year because of sequestration. But those losses won’t effect the weekend event.
“It should be a great event,” Eccles said.