Lest we forget

Children, parents and grandparents enjoyed the parade and free hot dogs, but it was those who weren’t in Coupeville Saturday who were remembered.

NAS Whidbey Capt. Steve Black told the crowd gathered on the City Park green that others died so they could live life in freedom. “They gave their lives so we could enjoy it,” he said. “We are their legacy. It’s a remarkable thing for one individual to do for another.”

Coupeville’s annual Memorial Day Parade started moments after the rain stopped Saturday morning. It appeared that the whole town turned out to either participate in the parade or watch. The greatest applause was saved for the guests of honor who were driven down the parade route in classic cars: Pearl Harbor survivors, ex-POW’s, and other veterans who had earned high rank and honor.

Many of those wizened faces were in the crowd as Capt. Black spoke. “Freedom came at a huge cost,” he said, adding that the battle continues. “Today we fight terrorism,” he said, noting that young men and women from Langley, Clinton, Freeland, Coupeville and Oak Harbor are presently involved in Operation Enduring Freedom.

Another speaker, Langley resident Kit Carson, recalled how he heard about the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was an usher in a church in Bremerton and was asked to bring a note to the pastor. He handed it over, and the pastor stated, “All military personnel report to base immediately — Pearl Harbor has been attacked.”

The next day, Carson and his best friend sailed on the ferry Kalakala to Seattle where they enlisted. Carson trained bomber pilots during the war, while his friend was killed on his third combat mission as he tried to bring his damaged plane home across the English Channel. Carson’s voice broke and he blinked back tears as he told one of the many sad war stories recounted that day.

But the day was more than solemn memories. The parade delighted the crowd, including Ann Moullen, a Coupeville resident for 15 years. “I love it every year,” she said, waving her U.S. flag at passing veterans.

Coupeville produces its classic rendition of a small town parade with floats made by community groups, marching goats and dogs, the Coupeville High School marching band, the Coupeville Elementary School Junior Spirit Team, a walking, talking portable telephone, farm equipment, fire trucks, flags carried by the American Legion, VFW, and Navy and ROTC honor guards, and

many other entries.

“I’m proud to be a member of a community that continues to honor Memorial Day,” said Mayor Nancy Conard.

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