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Coupeville honors military heroes
The town of Coupeville commemorated the countrys military heroes with the most Americana of displays Saturday morning.
The annual Memorial Day Parade was shortened this year because of construction on North Main Street, but that didnt lessen the enthusiasm of the large crowd that lined South Main Street.
Everything seemed exceptional in the bright sunlight of the perfect day. There were cheerleaders of all ages, a Coupeville marching band that played Blink-182 tunes, vintage tractors and cars galore, fire trucks and horses.
There were also some rather unusual parade participants. The sad-eyed dogs of the Whidbey Island Basset Hound Club looked remarkably happy as they marched along. The Red Hot Ya-Yas were more than dressed for the occasion. Shetland ponies pulled tiny buggies. An Island Transit bus even got into the spirit of things by doing a humorous trick.
After the parade, everyone was invited to a commemoration ceremony at the football field. Prairie Center Red Apple, Porter Stuurmans Insurance, Whidbey Island Bank and Coupeville Yarn provided free hot dogs, ice cream and pop.
Mayor Nancy Conard introduced the three speakers, Master Chief Petty Officer Francis Bagarella with Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, Pearl Harbor survivor Glenn Lane and Cmdr. Dan Brown, executive officer at NAS Whidbey.
The common theme among the speakers was the importance of remembering the men and women who sacrificed themselves to fight for the country. They each expressed disappointment at the fact that most communities in the country no longer celebrate Memorial Day.
The weight of this day, Brown said, is sometimes lessened in the hearts and minds of Americans. ... But today, we as a nation are at war, and once more, the importance of this day in reinforced and our focus sharpened.
Bagarella gave suggestions about how people can celebrate Memorial Day, from flying flags to pledging aid to a widow or wounded soldier.
Lane also urged people consider the sacrifices war heroes have made. Lane said he was proud to be a member of the Greatest Generation, but he also spoke about heroes to come.
The younger people are really the important people, he said. Our future generations depend on them.