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Bugle Calls: “Assembly,” “Echo Taps” and “To the Color” on Memorial Day at Veterans Park, Lynnwood, 2019

Posted by glennled on June 16, 2019

 

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Honor Guard, VFW Post 1040, Lynnwood. Photo by Lynnwood Today.

This is the 8th straight year that I have sounded the bugle calls at the Memorial Day ceremonies held at Veterans Park in downtown Lynnwood, home of VFW Post 1040 (please see https://vfw1040.org/). For me, it’s the most important military ceremony because it honors those who died while in military service of the United States of America, “one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.” This holiday traces its roots back to the Civil War.

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NW Jr. Pipe Band. Photo by Lynnwood Today.

On 27 May, in beautiful weather, about 250 people gathered remember and render their respect and honor. It appeared to be the largest crowd in my years with VFW Post 1040. On my superb Getzen bugle, I sounded “Echo Taps” with my former trumpet student, Zach Wilson, now a junior at North Creek High School in Bothell. In addition, I sounded the bugle calls “Assembly” (to start the program) and “To the Color” (at noon, after the ceremony, when the flag was raised to full staff).

Recently, I purchased the DVD,  “D-Day 60th Anniversary Commemorative Edition” of Steven Spielberg’s 1998 movie, Saving Private Ryan. [It has now been 75 years since D-Day.] Please see https://www.amazon.com/Saving-Private-Ryan-Two-Disc-Special/dp/B0001NBLVI/ref=sr_1_2?crid=VJH9Z74BFRWH&keywords=saving+private+ryan+dvd&qid=1559912600&s=movies-tv&sprefix=saving%2Caps%2C203&sr=1-2

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Legion of Honor, Nile Shrine Center. Photo by Lynnwood Today.

When I’ve watched the film in the past in the theater and on TV, I’ve never been able to hear what Capt. John Miller whispered to Private Ryan just before Miller died. I bought the DVD for two reasons: to listen carefully to (a) Miller’s dying whispers and (b) what Ryan says to his wife years later when, as an old man, he and his family visit the American cemetery at Normandy.

Miller’s dying words are “James, earn this. Earn it.” Ryan says to his wife, “Tell me I’ve led a good life.” She responds, “What?” He says, “Tell me I’m a good man.” She replies, “You are.” My, oh, my, how much I admire my parents’ generation!—it was termed The Greatest Nation by Tom Brokaw.

Among other things, the film reminds me of the last stanza of the WWI poem, “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae:

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Photo by Lynnwood Today.

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Zach Wilson (L) and Glenn Ledbetter (R)

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

In the film, both Miller and Ryan took up the torch—they lived and died carrying the torch for freedom. There is a saying today which I first heard from Raelynn Ricarte (please see my blog post of 20 July 2016). At a Memorial Day ceremony in 2016, she said, “Be an American worth dying for.”

Private Ryan tried to live up to the archetypal charge delivered to us all by McCrae, Miller, and Ricarte. Another Memorial Day—the bugle calls us to honor them and always remain grateful for their sacrifices and our heritage.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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