Central Whidbey Lions to mark Veterans Day

— Created November 3, 2021 by Kathy Reed

By Kathy Reed

Veterans of all branches of the military will be honored in a ceremony at 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 11 at veterans plaza by the Island County Courthouse in Coupeville.

The annual observance is put on by the Central Whidbey Lions Club and will feature flags from all branches of the military, including the Merchant Marines, which will be presented as Coupeville Mayor Molly Hughes reads about each service’s history. The Prisoner of War/Missing in Action flag will also be displayed.

“It will start with the U.S. Army, which was the first [military service branch established],” said Central Whidbey Lions Club President Judy Lewis. “Mayor Hughes will read the history of the service as each person presents its flag. After that, the Shifty Sailors will sing the anthem/service song for each flag. It’s really neat.”

While the pandemic forced the Central Whidbey Lions to cancel last year’s ceremony, Lewis said the organization found another way to commemorate Veterans Day last year, and the group will retain this observance as well.

“Last year we couldn’t have the gathering because we couldn’t have the public come and stand around in a group,” she explained. “So we thought it would be nice to get some small flags and have people come, write the name of a veteran or whoever they wanted to honor on a tag and then put the flag in the landscaping around the plaza. I think we had 68 last year; it turned out really nice, so we decided to do that again.”

The Veterans Day service will begin at 11 a.m., but Lewis said she and other Central Whidbey Lions will be there beginning at 10 a.m. for people to get their flags and place them in the plaza’s landscaping.

Lewis said it’s fitting for the Lions Club to honor veterans on this special day.

“It’s tradition and we do have a lot of veterans,” she said. “I think there are six different Lions Clubs on the island and if you were to poll their members, I’m sure there would be numerous veterans in all the clubs, so it seems fitting we do this. Almost everyone has someone in the family who has served in the military. This is just a way of honoring them, not just those who are gone, but those who are still here.”

The presentation will be made even more special this year because of a surprise gift.

“We have new flags provided by the Disabled American Veterans,” Lewis said. “They surprised us. Some of our flags were looking a little sad – they were getting faded. All of a sudden, they just replaced them and put them up. Three of our presenters are also members of the DAV, so that was a nice thing the DAV did.”

The flags are flown at the Veterans Plaza by the courthouse from Memorial Day through Labor Day. They are put up again just for Veterans Day.

“We also place American flags on Main Street [in Coupeville] for every recognized holiday,” Lewis said. “If you see flags flying on Main Street, we put them up.”