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Archive for the ‘Ceremonies & Celebrations’ Category

Six Bugle Calls at Memorial Day, D-Day, Flag Day, and Independence Day Ceremonies at Shoreline Veterans Recognition Plaza

Posted by glennled on July 29, 2020

Veterans Recognition Plaza, Shoreline, WA
On Flag Day, Dwight N. Stevens, WWII veteran, was honored with a wreath as his son, Larry Stevens, holds his hand over his heart. “Eternal Father, Strong to Save” was played, the Honor Guard (background) fired three volleys, and “Taps” was sounded. Photo by Denise Frisino.

During a recent six-week span, Shoreline City Hall was the scene of four major military ceremonies held outdoors at the adjacent Veterans Recognition Plaza which was dedicated on 21 May 2016. The ceremonies were organized and led by a Shoreline resident, Major General Ray Coffey, United States Volunteer Joint Service Command (USVJSC)

  • 25 May – Memorial Day
  • 6 June – D-Day
  • 14 June – Flag Day and 246th birthday of U.S. Army
  • 4 July – Independence Day and 244th birthday of USA

Participating in these ceremonies reminded me that, of course, the Army was formed before the United States became an independent nation. We had to fight a war to win independence. On 14 June 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the enlistment of riflemen to serve the United Colonies for one year. On the next day, George Washington was chosen as Commander-in-Chief and assigned the rank of General.

Major participants in the various ceremonies included members of the USVJSC, U.S. Army Reserve Command, U.S. Army Recruiting Command, VFW Post 3348 (Shoreline), VFW Post 1040 (Lynnwood), American Legion Post 0227 (Shoreline), NW Junior Pipe Band, Boy Scout Troop 312 (Edmonds), and veterans of all five military branches.

When called upon, the Honor Guard of VFW Post 1040 fired the three-volley salutes at these ceremonies. Likewise, when called upon, I sounded up to six bugle calls: Assembly, To the Color, Adjutant’s Call, Flourish for Review (“Ruffles”), Taps, and Echo Taps. On 4 July, a Boy Scout who has earned the Bulger Merit Badge sounded both Echo Taps with me and To the Color (solo). I used my Getzen bugle, and he used his trumpet. He is now an 8-grader at Madrona School in Edmonds and sounds Taps with the VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard at funeral services. Symphony Aimes sang “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America” at the Independence Day ceremony.

Please click to enlarge a photo.

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Coronavirus Forces Another of My “Taps” Videos to be Used in a Virtual Memorial Day Service at Covenant Living at the Shores, Mercer Island

Posted by glennled on July 18, 2020

Rev. Greg Asimakoupoulos, Chaplain, Covenant Living at the Shores (CLS), Mercer Island, asked for a video of me playing “Taps,” so he could include it in the 2020 Memorial Day ceremony at this prestigious, waterfront retirement community. The ceremony had to be virtual, of course, because of Covid-19 restrictions on the limited size of gatherings. The staff would integrate my video into their longer, ceremonial video.

So I chose to make my video among the 5,000 military gravestones in Veterans Cemetery at Evergreen-Washelli in north Seattle, where seven recipients of the Medal of Honor are buried. Nancy MacDonald, a lifelong family friend of Greg, recorded the video below on Friday, 15 May. Please turn on your sound and click on the Play arrow for this “Taps.” The video will rotate itself correctly when it begins to play.

“Taps” at Veterans Cemetery, Evergreen-Washelli, Seattle

To view William Rhinehart’s video of lovely flowers blooming at CLS on Memorial Day, please see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1Jt563lKNs (less than four minutes).

To view the complete video, “Memorial Day Service of Remembrance,” at CLS, including my “Taps” on my Getzen bugle (at the end, minute 57:35), please see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fc7mI7VbRTw&feature=youtu.be ((almost one hour and two minutes).

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Staff Uses Drone to Video My “Taps” at Evergreen-Washelli’s Veterans Cemetery in North Seattle

Posted by glennled on July 17, 2020

At Veterans Cemetery, Evergreen-Washelli, north Seattle, there are 5,000 graves of military service men and women. Seven of them are Medal of Honor recipients. Cemetery staff recorded me as I sounded “Taps” using my Getzen Field Trumpet (bugle) on 15 May 2020. Please watch the one-minute video below. The images begin to appear at 0:06.

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“Echo Taps” and “Assembly” Bugle Calls at 10th Wreaths Across America Ceremony at Veterans Cemetery in North Seattle

Posted by glennled on January 12, 2020

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VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard at “Present Arms” position as “Echo Taps” is sounded

 

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Michael Reagan, Fallen Heroes Project

The Wreaths Across America (WAA) ceremony in Seattle keeps improving, and as it does so, the audience size keeps growing. About 300 people attended the event on 14 December 2019 at Veterans Cemetery at Evergreen-Washelli, where there are 5,000 graves of service men and women, including 7 Medal of Honor recipients. This was the 10th annual ceremony wreath laying ceremony here. It’s a tribute to those buried here and elsewhere around the world. IMG_1848

Afterwards, audience members placed wreaths upon as many gravestones as there were wreaths. This year, “with the help of a new nonprofit foundation (Veterans Memorial Wreath Foundation), growing community awareness, and the generous support of our sponsors,” said Lorraine Zimmerman, president of VMWF, “we were able to place a record number of wreaths—over 1300! If anybody is interested in becoming involved and/or learning more about our foundation, just contact me or visit http://www.vmwf.org. Save the date for next year’s ceremony: Saturday, 19 December at 9 a.m.”

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William (Bill) W. Wilson, former POW, Vietnam War, 1972-73

The VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard was honored once more to fire the rifle salute and sound the bugle calls during the ceremony. To open the event, I sounded the bugle call, “Assembly.” At the close, Lukas Breen of the U.S.Coast Guard and Bugles Across America joined me in sounding “Echo Taps.” We both used Getzen Field Trumpets (bugles).

Please use the Archives column (left) to read my articles about previous WAA ceremonies:

  • 15 Jan 2019
  • 29 Dec 2017
  • 30 Dec 2016
  • 5 Feb 2016
  • 28 Apr 2015
  • 9 Jan 2013
  • 16 Dec 2011

All photos are courtesy of Tonya Christoffersen except one by Lila O’Leary (as captioned). Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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“Taps” for Veterans Day Ceremony at Cottage Lake Elementary School in Woodinville

Posted by glennled on December 11, 2019

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Annually, Cottage Lake Elementary School (CLES) in Woodinville presents an exceptional Veterans Day Ceremony, and for the second year in a row, I had the privilege of sounding “Taps” near the end of the program on 12 November. That was immediately followed by the flag-folding ceremony. Brigadier General Raymond W. Coffey, U.S. Army Volunteer Reserve (USAVR), who was emcee of and principal speaker at the ceremony, read a script explaining the symbolic meaning of each of the 13 folds. Please see https://www.ushistory.org/betsy/more/folds.htm.

The principal of CLES is Jennifer Welch, and the chief organizer of this event was Kelsey Brady, music teacher. She played the piano and conducted the school choir in a number of patriotic songs. Students conducted the White Table Ceremony (aka Missing Man Table, Fallen Comrade Table, Fallen Soldier Table, POW/MIA Remembrance Table, and POW/MIA Empty Chair Ceremony). Please see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missing_man_table.

About 20 veterans, most wearing clothes that identified them with their military service, were honored by the school and the large audience of parents, relatives and friends. These vets have children or grandchildren who attend CLES. In addition to “Taps,” I sounded two other calls on my gorgeous Getzen bugle—“Assembly” and “To the Color.”

Please use the Archives column (left) to find the article of 18 December 2018 and read about and see many photos of last year’s ceremony.

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“Echo Taps” at Veterans Day Ceremony in Lynnwood

Posted by glennled on December 10, 2019

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“Echo Taps” performers

Veterans Day, 11 November—annually, VFW Post 1040 hosts the ceremony at Veterans Park in downtown Lynnwood, and typically, 100-200 people show up to remember, honor, and thank all veterans for their military service.

And for me, it’s another opportunity to sound “Echo Taps” for them all. Each year, I select one of my past students to play the “Echo” part. This year, it was an 8th grader at Skyview Middle School who plays lead trumpet in the jazz band there. He was a good student in my 5th and 6th grade brass classes. (I’m in my 9th year of teaching as a para-professional at Skyview.) At this year’s ceremony, we both played Getzen horns—he, his trumpet and me, my bugle.

Organizations participating in the ceremony included VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard, Northwest Jr. Pipe Band (Kevin Auld, Director), Nile Shrine Center’s Legion of Honor, Gold Star Mothers, American Legion Lynnwood Post 37, Boy Scouts of America Troop 49,  Sound Church of Lynnwood, and City of Lynnwood. The featured speaker was John Natterstad, Deputy Commander, U.S. Volunteers-Joint Services Command, and an Air Force veteran (www.usvjsc.org).

There are more than 1,000 engraved bricks in Veterans Park, honoring living and deceased veterans. Members of the public donate $30 per brick, simply to cover engraving costs.

For blog articles about past Veterans Day ceremonies involving other trumpet students, please use the Archives column (left) to find:

  • 17 Dec 2018
  • 21 Dec 2016
  • 26 Nov 2015
  • 15 Apr 2015
  • 19 Nov 2012
  • 19 Nov 2011

As is customary, I sounded the bugle call, “Assembly,” to commence the ceremony.

Photo is by Brandi Lacombe.

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“Taps” Twice at Veterans Day Ceremonies at Crystal Springs Elementary School in Bothell

Posted by glennled on December 4, 2019

 

Now and then, a song will pluck your heart strings in a special way. That happened to me when I first heard “We Honor You” by Roger Emerson, a prolific, award-winning composer and arranger of choral music with over 900 titles in print and 30,000 copies in circulation. He wrote this song in 2016 and told me, “I have always felt a huge debt to those who fought our wars.”

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“Taps,” alongside the CSES 4th grade choir

I was at Crystal Springs Elementary School (CSES) in Bothell to sound “Taps” at the close of two school assemblies on 8 November. At 9:40 a.m., the K, 3rd, and 4th grade choirs performed, and at 10:25 the 1st, 2nd, and 5th grade choirs did so, under the direction of Jane Lin, general music teacher. It was the 4th graders who sang “We Honor You.”

Afterwards, I emailed Mr. Emerson (please see http://www.rogeremerson.com) in appreciation of his words and music: “I’m a VFW Bugler and play various calls at many military ceremonies and funerals. I’ll admit that it now takes something unique to move my heart strings. Last Friday…I heard ‘We Honor You’ for the first time. I am a Vietnam vet. The young voices of the 4th grade choir singing your song really got to me. They sang with innocent voices about things they never experienced but I did. They have the freedom we fought for.”

Ms. Lin’s programs were unabashedly chocked full of patriotism. A Cub Scout Color Guard presented the flags, and the kids and the audience of about 300 parents, relatives and friends stood with hands over their hearts, reciting “The Pledge of Allegiance.” Altogether, counting both assemblies, the choirs sang 11 different songs:

Jane Lin & Glenn Ledbetter, CSES, 11-8-'19

Jane Lin and Glenn Ledbetter

  • I Love America
  • The Great Defenders
  • One Nation
  • We Won’t Forget
  • On Veterans Day
  • We Honor You
  • Thankful for the USA
  • Thank you to Our Veterans
  • Grand Old Flag
  • Thinking of You
  • Hallelujah (Veterans version), accompanied on guitar by Collin Sarchin, CSES general music teacher

The well-organized programs moved along smoothly and timely. The choirs were well-dressed and well-rehearsed. Their movements were well-choreographed. They sang with feeling, precision, and fun. They spoke and read their parts nicely. Everyone knew what was next, and they were ready for their turn on the program. They were engaged—not bored and drifting. And they clearly loved their leader. The sound system, slide show, and light controls functioned perfectly. If this were a military unit, we would say they were proud and ready. And so was I when I sounded “Taps” for them on my beautiful Getzen bugle—twice!

Please click on any photo to enlarge it. The video is courtesy of Jane Lin, Crystal Springs Elementary School.

First Assembly (9:40 a.m.)

 

Second Assembly (10:25)

 

Audience

 

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“To the Color” for 7th Annual Veterans Days Ceremony at Edmonds Community College

Posted by glennled on December 3, 2019

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Boots to Books and Beyond Monument, Edmonds Community College

For the seventh straight year, we gathered at the Black Box Theatre on the campus of Edmonds Community College (ECC) on 6 November for a ceremony to honor all the nation’s veterans on the holiday established for this special purpose–Veterans Day.

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L to R: SSGT Ahmad Al Rawi, Chris Szarek and Fernando Moratalla

Dr. Amit Singh, ECC President, was present and spoke. So did Mayor Nicola Smith, City of Lynnwood. But the major speakers were Ahmad Al Rawi, and Fernando Moratalla because this year’s theme was to honor immigrant veterans. SSgt. Al Rawi told how he came from Iraq to the USA and became a Marine, now serving at the Navy Recruiting Station near Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood. Sgt. Moratalla, told how he came from Venezuela, became a Marine, and is now Senior Security Guard at ECC. Both sergeants were compelled to serve, and their stories were inspirational.

IMG_1386Dr. Peter Schmidt told the story behind the “Boots to Books and Beyond Monument” on the campus. This year is its 10th anniversary. A fascinating staff and faculty slideshow, compiled by Sgt. Moratalla and featuring “We Are the Champions” by Queen, was presented.

Chris Szarek, Director, Veterans Resource Center (VRC), ECC, U.S. Navy (Ret.) was emcee of the ceremony. I was again honored to sound “To the Color” on my Getzen bugle (aka field trumpet). Please use the Archives in the left column to see my blog article of 24 November 2017 about that ECC Veterans Day ceremony.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it. All photos except the main one featured above, are courtesy of VRC, ECC.

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More Bands with Brilliant Brass at 2019 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Scotland

Posted by glennled on August 27, 2019

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Opening Fanfare, 2019 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

 

The theme of this year’s Royal Ediniburgh Military Tattoo in Scotland was “Kaleidoscope 2019—A Celebration of Glorious Symmetry.” This iconic tattoo is in its 69th season. More than 14 million people have attended the tattoo, and attendance has been a sell-out for 20 consecutive years. It’s spectacular. This year’s show was performed nightly from 2-24 August (~three weeks) on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle, and my wife and I attended for the fourth time. We went on opening night. The planning, skill, fitness, discipline, obedience, alertness, teamwork, intelligence, and willpower on display in this show are indicative of what makes an effective, victorious military. And the music is terrific!

The current show features more bands with brass instruments than the other three that we have attended, so it’s one of my favorites. I shot about 400 photos, with close attention on trumpet players. Wouldn’t it be a thrill to perform in this world-famous tattoo, “the Granddaddy of Them All?” Here are a few photos.

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Pipe bands cross the Edinburgh Castle drawbridge onto the esplanade

Performers came from Scotland, England, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, France, China, Nepal, Tasmania, Nigeria, Trinidad, and Tabago. I love the pipes and drums, but I also love conventional wind bands comprised of brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. This year, there were more than the usual number of the latter (in order of appearance):

  • Guards Brigade Band, Silent Drill Platoon and Nigerian Cultural Ensemble
  • Heeresmusikkorps Kassel (Army Band Kassel, Germany)
  • Music De L’Artillerie (Artillery Band of the French Army)
  • Beijing Marching Wind Band and Cultural Display (China)
  • New Zealand Army Band
  • Band of the Scots Guards
  • Band of the Irish Guards
  • Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland
  • Tattoo Stage Band

For me, the abundance of these bands made this year’s tattoo one of the top two which I’ve attended. And I’m always thrilled with anticipation when the herald trumpets sound the fanfare to open the show. This year two trumpet ensembles played “Pure Light” and “The Prism.”

The kaleidoscope was invented in 1816 by the Scotsman, Sir David Brewster. The instrument displays infinite combinations of patterns and colors. One hundred and twelve years earlier, in 1704, Sir Isaac Newton named seven hues of color in the visible spectrum of light: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet (ROYGBIV). Various mixtures of these hues form all colors, including white. Each group in the show was assigned one of Newton’s hues to use in its performance, thus creating a kaleidoscopic effect, representing the “fabulous and constantly changing human mosaic.”

More than 800 musicians created a human kaleidoscope image when they assembled together as the massed military bands and massed pipes and drums . Watching the many intricate, technically precise formations, maneuvers, and movements of the marchers and dancers, dressed in multi-colored uniforms and clothes, was like watching the ever-changing images inside a kaleidoscope.

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Side-stepping by The French Artillery Band Lyon

If you can’t get to Edinburgh for the next tattoo, perhaps you could attend one of these:

Anne, Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, is Patron of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. She writes in the tattoo program, “…the glorious symmetries of marching men and women, their disciplined approach—whatever the weather!—the music, the lighting, the projections [onto the castle wall], fireworks, special effects, the storyline and the appreciation of the audience are the very essence of ‘Tattoo.'”

The tattoo is a not-for-profit charity and has raised more than 11 million pounds for many good armed services beneficiaries and arts organizations over the years.

For my accounts of two of the past three tattoos we have attended, please see my blog posts of 6 September 2018 and 18 September 2014, using the Archives in the left column. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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Music at 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing Ceremony at Neil Armstrong Plaza in Edmonds

Posted by glennled on July 24, 2019

 

LtoR-Hoggins, Vogel, Earling, Clark

L to R: Dale Hoggins, Larry Vogel, Mayor Dave Earling, and Dennis Clark. Vogel holds his copy of The New York Times from 50 years ago. Clark, while a high school student, spearheaded the idea of honoring Neil Armstrong with a monument in Edmonds. Hoggins, former Edmonds School District principal, once coached Clark in Little League baseball. Mayor Earling officially re-dedicated the monument. Photo by Julia Wiese, My Edmonds News.

 

20 July 2019 minus 20 July 1969 = 50 years. And that’s how long it’s been since Neil Armstrong and Edwin (“Buzz”) Aldrin walked on the moon. The whole nation, the whole world is remembering this most amazing event in human history.

In Edmonds, the occasion sparked the creation, dedication, and re-dedication of the Apollo 11 Monument which now sits downtown in the Neil Armstrong Plaza. Never heard of it? Nor had I, but after last Saturday, I’ll never forget it. I found it at the north end of the Edmonds Police Station, just off 5th Street. There, I provided the music for the re-dedication ceremony at 9 a.m. on 20 July—two bugle calls on my Getzen bugle and three songs on my Getzen trumpet:

Apollo 11 Monument, Edmonds, by Feliks Banel

The gray Apollo 11 Monument in Neil Armstrong Plaza, Edmonds, turned golden at sunset. Photo by Feliks Banel.

  • “Assembly”
  • “To the Color”
  • “Anchors Aweigh” (for Neil Armstrong, Naval Aviator and test pilot)
  • “Wild Blue Yonder” (for Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr., Air Force fighter pilot, Korean War, and Michael Collins, Air Force test pilot and author)
  • “America the Beautiful”

tn_Apollo_11_Crew - Photo courtesdy of NASA.

Apollo 11 Crew (L to R): Armstrong, Aldrin, Collins. NASA photo.

About 40 people attended. Felix Banel, noted Northwest historian and KIRO-FM radio personality, emceed the re-dedication event. Historian Larry Vogel, the keynote speaker, told of how, in his boyhood, he was caught up in the space race with the Soviet Union in the late 1950s through the 1960s. After the moon walk, “I ran out the next morning as soon as the newspapers hit the stands [on Long Island, his home] and picked up a copy of The New York Times—I knew it would be historic. For the first time, the staid Times ran a headline in the largest type they had ever used—‘Men Walk on Moon.’ I’ve kept it safely at the bottom on my sock drawer ever since!”

Mayor Dave Earling reflected on the moon walk and then read the proclamation, re-dedicating the monument. He promised to upgrade the plaza and make it more well-known. Afterwards, I learned that he is a former trumpet player and was a music teacher and the Band Director, Shoreline Community College, 1967-1978. Then he became real estate broker, manager, and owner of Edmonds Realty for 25 years. He lives in Perrinville, where I live also. He owns 5 trumpets, and his favorite is a King.

After the ceremony concluded, I went, as part of the VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard, to Edmonds Cemetery for a memorial service. There I sounded “Taps” immediately after the rifle team rendered the three-volley rifle salute for the deceased Navy veteran.

And from there, I went to busk at the Veterans Plaza next to the Edmonds Saturday Market in downtown Edmonds. I played songs for an hour and a half—I do this two-to-four times a summer to fundraise. All donations are split between VFW Post 1040, Lynnwood, and VFW Post 8870, Edmonds. So far this summer, having busked three times, I’ve raised $140, donated by the generous people who attend the market and come to the adjacent plaza to sit and listen to the trumpet. I’m a lucky man. Please see my posts of 7 July and 11 October 2017, using the Archives in the left column.

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Plaque on Apollo 11 Monument, Edmonds. Photo courtesy of Larry Vogel.

 

Apollo 11 and the Monument

The Apollo 11 monument was designed to resemble a space capsule by local sculptor and Edmonds Community College art teacher, Howard Duell. Made of concrete and brass, it stands more than 11 feet high and weighs about 3,800 pounds. On the front is depicted Armstrong’s moon walk with the American flag planted in the lunar surface in 1969. On the back is the Saturn V rocket on its launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, with the moon rising behind, as the Apollo 11 mission prepares for launch.

It was originally dedicated on 4 July 1976, our nation’s bicentennial date. Washington Gov. Dan Evans issued a declaration naming the occasion as “Neil Armstrong Plaza Day.” Larry Vogel wrote, “the crowd gathered, the ribbon was cut, and the monument dedicated just in time for the start of the Fourth of July parade.”

Michael Collins was the third member of the Apollo 11 crew. He remained in orbit around the moon inside the Columbia space capsule while Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the moon, exploring the area and gathering moon rocks for analysis.

My Edmonds News recently published two articles about the original dedication of the monument and the re-dedication ceremonies, and Feliks Banel posted another:

Photos are courtesy of My Edmonds News, Julia Wiese, photographer, unless otherwise credited. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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