Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

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13th Annual Wreath-Laying Ceremony at Veterans Cemetery in North Seattle

Posted by glennled on December 31, 2021

Volunteers lay more than 1,000 wreaths on Veterans’ graves at Evergreen-Washelli’s Veterans Cemetery. Photo by Phil Onishi Photography.

The third Saturday of December was the 18th, and that could mean only one thing to a bugler—it was time for the annual Christmas wreath-laying ceremony, Wreaths Across America (WAA). Never mind that it was raining steadily. At 9 a.m., the President and Executive Director of the Veterans Memorial Wreath Foundation, Lorraine Zimmerman, announced over the loud speaker, “Bugler, sound ‘Assembly!'” And so I did for the 11th time. Then the Color Guard of the Navy ROTC program at the University of Washington presented the colors, and the crowd of about 200 patriots pledged allegiance to the flag. Chaplain Linda Haptonstall gave the invocation.

MKC Noah Vogeli, U.S. Coast Guard

At about 9:15 came the main program segment, the Ceremonial Wreath Dedication. One by one, eight men placed and saluted small flags on eight wreaths in memory of and gratitude for those who have fallen in service to America. After the benediction, the Honor Guard of VFW Post 1040 of Lynnwood fired a three-volley rifle salute, immediately followed by “Echo Taps,” sounded by me and Laurence Stusser. He used his Olds trumpet, and I used my Getzen bugle. The colors were retired, and after the benediction by the Chaplin, this 13th annual ceremony concluded. Similar ceremonies were held at more than 3,100 locations nationwide on this day.

But the local event was not over—there was more to be done. The crowd voluntarily began laying 3,000 wreaths on the gravestones in the Veterans Memorial Park at Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery in north Seattle. VMWF has the ambitious goal of adorning all 5,000 veterans’ gravestones someday. To do that, more sponsors are needed. A donation of $15 sponsors one wreath; two, $30; five, $75 (most popular); ten, $150.

VMWF was founded not only to conduct this ceremony and lay these wreaths but also to teach coming generations about the cost and value of our freedom. VMWF plans to provide educational scholarships soon to military dependents and ROTC students. For more information, please see http://www.vmwf.org.

The WAA was officially formed in 2007 but originated in 1992 at Arlington National Cemetery. Its mission is to remember, honor and teach. Read more at http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org and at http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/pages/19064/Overview/relatedld=17280. Also, use the Search box in the upper right column of this blog to find 8 articles with photos about past ceremonies here. Simply enter the word “wreath.”

Photos are courtesy of Phil Onishi, https://philonishiphotography.smugmug.com/Veterans-Memorial-Wreath-Foundation-Dec-18-2021/n-tVDwMv. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

Overview, Ceremony and Wreath Laying

VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard

U.W. NROTC Color Guard

Veterans, Participants, Volunteers, Attendees, and Scenes

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