Town’s annual parade and ceremony honors veterans

Turn your eyes to the skies this year for Coupeville’s Memorial Day Parade and Remembrance Ceremony. The annual event, which honors men and women who died in service, has been a Coupeville tradition for over 40 years .

The parade and ceremony will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday May 25, and it will feature a flyover by World War II-era B-25 bomber. This new airborne addition is from the Historic Flight Foundation in Mukilteo.

The parade runs through Coupeville’s historic downtown district on Front Street and is followed by the remembrance ceremony and concert at the Coupeville Town Park.

At the remembrance ceremony, Coupeville Mayor Molly Hughes and Naval Air Station Whidbey Island commanding officer Capt. Matt Arny will say a few words to acknowledge veterans, organizer Lynda Eccles said.

Eccles is executive director of the Coupeville Chamber of Commerce, which runs the event each year.

The All-Island Community Band will be playing live music until 2 p.m.

“It’s a musical salute to the armed servants,” Eccles said.

There will also be “first come, first serve” food and drinks — free hot dogs, chips and drinks served until they’re gone, provided by the Red Apple grocery store, which is a sponsor of the event.

The parade has 45 entries this year, according to Eccles, and will feature antique cars, fire engines, community floats, a military cadet group and appearances by local officials as well as World War II, Korean and Vietnam war veterans.

The parade grand Marshall is Ricardo Reyes, a Coupeville resident and veteran who is involved with the Coupeville Lions Club and emergency planning groups including NET and Red Cross.

“We wanted someone from Coupeville to be our grand marshal and Ricardo is very well respected in the community,” Eccles said. “We’d like to honor him for everything he’s involved in in our community.”

Reyes said it was a surprise to be selected and he’s glad to see that Coupeville has continued the Memorial Day event for so many years.

“I’m glad they appreciate all the veterans,” he said.

Reyes joined the Marine Corps when he was 17, served active duty for four years and a tour in Vietnam for a year. He continued his military career, including serving in Iraqi Freedom in the Navy. He moved to Whidbey Island in 2010.

“It’s a wonderful parade, very special,” Eccles said of the event.

“Just come out and enjoy a really special day.”

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