PENINSULA — Many stood and saluted, while others wiped away tears and waved flags.
The 69th annual Loyalty Days stoked patriotic pride and somber remembrance during a weekend of summer-like weather along the Long Beach Peninsula.
Long Beach Mayor Jerry Phillips led a thundering procession of motorcycles to kickoff the Sunday parade, followed by dozens of colorful themed floats featuring local businesses, entertainment and philanthropic groups all marching under the universal theme of “Standing Together.”
One of the more stirring moments occurred when mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters carried memorial banners in honor of former military members who made the ultimate sacrifice. Among those carrying banners was Breana Holstrom, sister of Sgt. First Class Joseph “Joe” Chavez, a decorated U.S. Army veteran, who passed away unexpectedly Aug. 17, 2018. Tears rolled down Holstrom’s cheeks as she carried the banner to the chorus of Barry Sadler’s “Ballad of the Green Beret,” while observers paid tribute.
In Ilwaco on Saturday, the focus was purely on fun, as the Kids Parade turned the town’s streets over to children and their parents.
“There was a big crowd at this year’s parade and the kids were having a grand time. Wonderful family fun,” resident Ann Saari commented.