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Thousands attend Coupeville's annual Memorial Day parade
Pearl Harbor survivors, along with other World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans joined active duty personnel and Whidbey Island residents to remember and honor the men and women who have sacrificed their lives to protect the United States.
Coupeville is home of an annual Memorial Day parade and remembrance ceremony that took place Saturday. Thousands of people lined the streets of Coupeville and filled Coupeville Town Park to participate in a festive day of events.
“I am honored to speak on behalf of the Navy, but it is especially humbling to stand here in uniform and speak about the many American heroes we honor on this special day,” said Capt. Mike Nortier, commanding officer at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.
“Memorial Day is a time to pause and take the long view, to take stock of what really matters, to think about what we do and why we do it.”
Nortier spoke during the ceremony honoring fallen service personnel. He took time to mention the Pearl Harbor survivors Jim Stansell, Cecil Calavan, Harold Johnson, Anthony Nady and Harold Shimer who, along with veterans Bill Ethridge, Harry Farrier and Walter Nelson, were on the Town Park stage during the ceremony.
Stansell, who is president of the Pearl Harbor Survivor’s Association, conducted a bell ceremony and Hospital Corpsman First Class Charles Winter used a bugle to perform Taps. The All Island Community Band also performed.
“The eloquence of words cannot match the power of the sacrifices made by so many. We honor them. We praise them. We remember them,” Nortier said.
A light-hearted parade took place before the ceremony. Around 70 entrants comprised this year’s procession that traveled down Main Street, onto Front Street through downtown before ending up at Town Park.
Community groups, the Coupeville High School marching band and church groups were some of the entries in Saturday’s parade. Janice Vaughan was named grand marshal, which is the first year Coupeville’s Memorial Day parade had such an honor.
Once the parade wrapped up, people walked to Town Park where they could enjoy a hot dog lunch prepared by members of the Central Whidbey Lions Club. Food was provided by Prairie Center Red Apple.