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Rain can’t slow Coupeville parade

A dreary Saturday morning with light drizzle didn’t dampen anybody’s patriotic spirit.

Hundreds of people from on and off Whidbey Island came to Coupeville to remember veterans who died in service to the United States.

The town marks Memorial Day weekend each year with a parade, followed by a remembrance ceremony at Town Park and then a free picnic.

This year’s parade seemed a bit bigger than usual. More than 80 entries, comprised of community groups, marching bands, Pearl Harbor survivors, fire engines and clowns, walked the parade route that traveled through the main streets of Coupeville before winding up at Town Park.

“My son is in the band so we rough it out every year,” said Shawna Kelly, whose son, Coupeville Middle School eighth-grader Brandon, plays trumpet in the marching band.

Everett resident Donna Morse brought her 5-year-old daughter Michaela to Coupeville for her first patriotic parade.

“We wanted to teach her about Memorial Day,” Morse said.

The parade also featured Pearl Harbor survivors in vintage automobiles, a bagpipe band from Tacoma and several motorcycle clubs.

Following the parade, people walked to Town Park to view the annual remembrance ceremony. Capt. Gerral David, commanding officer at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, gave an address.

The base captain highlighted five servicemen who were recently killed while serving in Afghanistan. They were Sgt. Danis Kisseloff of Saint Charles, Mo.; Petty Officer Zarian Wood of Houston, Texas; Sgt. Joshua Desforge, of Ludlow, Mass.; Maj. Randell Voas, of Lakeville, Minn.; and James B. Lackey, of Green Cove Springs, Fla.

“Their families and others like them are most likely still suffering the shock and heartbreak of answering a knock on the door — realizing their lives would be changed forever as they received official notification that their son or daughter, husband or wife, mother or father, brother or sister, died in the service of their country on foreign soil,” David told the solemn crowd.

Coupeville Mayor Nancy Conard encouraged everyone to hold one minute of silence at 3 p.m. Monday afternoon to “reflect on the glory of those who gave their lives for freedom and safety.”

Afterward, the 56th Army Band from Joint Base Lewis-McChord performed while people at Town Park enjoyed a picnic lunch.

Members of the Central Whidbey Lions Club were busy Saturday afternoon providing a free lunch of hot dogs, soda and ice cream. Lions club members prepared 1,100 hot dogs that were donated by Prairie Center Red Apple.

“We’ll get through this with smiles,” Central Whidbey Lions Club member Ginny Munn said as she was handing hot dogs out to a grateful and patriotic and rather damp crowd.

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