Flyover set for Vet Day Parade

Along with the roar of motorcycles, the melody of marching bands and the cheers of onlookers, a new sound will be a part of Oak Harbor’s fourth annual Veterans Day Parade.

Helicopter blades.

Terry Lacey, the parade’s organizer and founder, said one or two of the MH-60S Knighthawk helicopters from Whidbey Island Naval Air Station’s search and rescue team will do a flyover during the parade.

“This is the first time we’ll have a flyover,” he said. “It should be a lot of fun.”

This year’s parade will be Saturday, Nov. 7. Lacey said it will start at 11 a.m., which is earlier than in previous years; he said the organizers decided to see if an earlier start would boost attendance.

In addition, a ceremony honoring those who served will be at the Oak Harbor High School on Veterans Day itself, Nov. 11.

The parade will travel down Pioneer Way, beginning at the intersection with Midway Boulevard and ending at Ace Hardware.

As for the parade, this year’s grand marshal will be Dick Johnson, who was the first force master chief of the Navy Reserve. Lacey said Johnson was the obvious choice since this year is the centennial of the Navy Reserve.

Lacey got the idea for the parade after attending a similar event in Burlington years ago; he said it makes sense that a community like Oak Harbor with such a large military presence should have a parade marking Veterans Day.

“Once we got the idea out there, it was an easy sell,” he said.

At 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 11 the Oak Harbor Area Council of Navy League of the United States will hold a Veterans Day ceremony honoring those who have served and currently serve at Oak Harbor High School Performing Arts Center.

The theme this year is “Honoring our Nation’s Heroes” and will feature musical performances by the All-Island Community Band and Oak Harbor High School Treble Choir.

The National Anthem will be performed by a vocal ensemble comprised of active duty service men and women from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

The Oak Harbor High School NJROTC’ Wildcat Battalion will provide the Color Guard and ceremonial support, this year including a POW/MIA tribute. The guest speaker will be Captain Scott “Topper” Farr, Commander, Electronic Attack Wing, Pacific.