A ripple moved through the crowd lining Sherman Avenue as Coeur d’Alene’s Veterans of Foreign Wars marched down the street, an American flag draped in front of them.
Spectators stood solemnly, removed hats and applauded as the first of many military and veteran groups kicked off the 2018 America the Beautiful parade.
Earl T. Hyde, a World War II veteran who will celebrate his 100th birthday in August, was helped into the back of a convertible and waved at spectators, who cheered loudly. Hyde’s goal is to become the oldest living veteran of the war.
The Perfection-Nots troupe were a crowd favorite, with musicians clad in Mario costumes, banana suits, and several band members in wheelchairs being pushed as they played trumpet and French horn. It was the band’s 41st year in the parade, and members played Grand Old Flag with gusto.
Tony Kom wore a snorkel, water wings and an inflatable duck floatie around his waist while playing the trombone. He said the outfit was inspired by his two children.
“I was just throwing this together at the last minute, so I grabbed their swimming gear,” he said.
Twelve-year-old Post Falls student Lillian Page watched from downtown Coeur d’Alene, sitting in the street in front of her family. Page’s hair was coiled in two buns, with red, white and blue ribbon adorning them: her idea, executed by her mother, Emily.
Page said she likes spending the holiday with her family and watching fireworks. Her former music teacher was among those in the Perfection-Nots.
“She had her big red, white and blue tuba. It was awesome,” she said.
Anthony Lloyd stood on a downtown sidewalk, wearing a shirt reading “Happy treason day, colonial peasants” over the face of Queen Elizabeth II. Lloyd is a dual British-American citizen who came to California in 2002 for college and stuck around.
He lost his British accent while working in the Texas oilfields, he said, and moved to Post Falls with his wife, who’s from the area. He was naturalized on July 23, 2014.
“Every since then I’ve been here every Fourth of July,” he said.
His friend said the shirt was the least dressed up Lloyd has ever been for the holiday. One year, he wore a full red, white and blue onesie.
Sharon Lundblad sat on the porch of Lillian Wilkins Interiors, the interior design business she owns along Sherman Avenue. She said her family and friends gather there every year. Her grandson, a wounded veteran from Texas, was among those with her.
“This is the best place in town to watch the parade,” she said.
Her favorite groups included dancers from the Coeur d’Alene tribe, the Hot Mamas and the veteran groups, which she said brought tears to her eyes.
“How do you pick? They’re all great,” she said.
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