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“Taps” for Laurence Joseph Mensing (70), Career Army Specialist

Posted by glennled on February 22, 2019

 

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Once in awhile, a memorial service stands out as special among the many others at which I have sounded “Taps” during the past 10 years for a deceased veteran and his family and friends. Such was the case on Sunday, 10 February at Purdy & Walters Funeral Home at Floral Hills in Lynnwood.

It was between snowstorms that we gathered in the chapel at 1 p.m. to remember and honor Laurence Joseph (“Larry Joe”) Mensing, who passed away in Mountlake Terrace on 21 January 2019. His son, Joe, had contacted me through Bugle Across America (BAA) for “Taps.” The officant was Anne Jenny, herself a veteran. Two of Larry Joe’s younger brothers and a niece spoke about his important impacts upon their lives. Their IMG_2701testimonies were emotional, even tearful. He was clearly adored and honored by his family and friends. One brother, with choked, cracking voice, said Larry Joe was his best friend and talked about how the Army had changed his older brother into a dignified gentleman. Another brother, pounding the podium and mourning the loss, said that all his life, he wanted to be just like Larry Joe. The niece said Larry Joe was known for pranks and teasing, and from a young age, she was always certain that he loved her.

Born and raised in Montana, Specialist (SPC) Mensing had joined the Army in 1968 and served almost 24 years. Afterwards, he was an active member of the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He met his wife, Yoko Makishi, while stationed at Fort Buckner, Okinawa. They were married 45 years and had four children and six grandchildren. She preceded him in death. “After retiring,” reads the program, “more than anything ‘G-PA’ ala ‘Pa Pa’ loved spending time with family and friends.” He was the family leader. IMG_2720

The Army Honor Guard consisted of 9 soldiers; I had never seen so many at such a ceremony. They fired the three-volley rifle salute, and as six of them held the flag level above the casket, I sounded “Taps” on my beautiful Getzen bugle with the BAA engraving on the bell (see my blog post of 4 May 2015).

Later, as I watched the audience file out of the chapel, there were lots of red eyes and wet cheeks. They could not hold back. He was that beloved. On leaving, I went up to Joe, who held the flag in his arms. We shook hands, and I thanked him for the honor and privilege of sounding “Taps.” Like the others, his eyes were wet and red. RIP, Larry Joe. You were Special.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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