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Archive for the ‘Ceremonies & Celebrations’ Category

8th Annual “Wreaths Across America” Ceremony at Evergreen-Washelli in Seattle

Posted by glennled on December 29, 2017

Air Force Master Sgt. Shanda De Anda salutes the wreath on which she just placed a flag (2)

Air Force Master Sgt. Shanda De Anda salutes the USAF wreath. Photo by Alan Berner, The Seattle Times.

On Saturday, 16 December 2017, a crowd gathered at Veterans Cemetery at Evergreen-Washelli in north Seattle to participate in the Wreaths Across America (WAA) ceremony, along with 1,422 other participating locations nationwide. The ceremony is held annually on the 3rd Saturday in December.

Locally, it was the 8th annual WAA event, hosted by the Navy Wives Club of America (NWCA), Totem 277 (Seattle to Burlington), with Lorraine Zimmerman the emcee.
The guest speaker was Col. Anthony D. Babcock, USAF, Commander, 62nd Maintenance Group, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

At Arlington National Cemetery, more than 75,000 volunteers placed 244,700 wreaths (one for each marker there). It was the largest crowd since the tradition began in 1992. A network of hundreds of volunteer drivers trucked nearly 500 truckloads of  more than 1,565,000 remembrance wreaths to every state in the union.  Other dedicated volunteers committed countless hours to conduct this coordinated event that helps accomplish WAA’s mission to “Remember, Honor, and Teach.” Please see the WAA Official Facebook page and its website,, as well as

VFW Post 1040, Lynnwood, supplied the Color Guard and Honor Guard (rifle team and bugler). I sounded “Taps” on my Getzen bugle at the close of the ceremony. The Post’s website is

For an 11-photo slideshow with captions by Alan Berner, The Seattle Times, please see

For more information on both WAA and this local event, please see my past blog posts of:

  • 30 Dec 2016
  • 5 Feb 2016
  • 28 Apr 2015
  • 9 Jan 2013
  • 16 Dec 2011

These photos are courtesy of Alan Berner, The Seattle Times. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.


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Photo Gallery of Edmonds Community College’s 5th Annual Veterans Day Celebration

Posted by glennled on November 24, 2017


Color Guard, VFW Post 1040, Lynnwood

As Dr. Jean Hernandez, President, Edmonds Community College (ECC), plans to retire at the end of this year, she leaves behind the thriving Veterans Resource Center (VRC) among the many credits in her education career legacy. This was evident during the recent 5th Annual Veterans Day Celebration at the Black Box Theatre on 1 November.


L to R: Dr. Jean Hernandez, Glenn Ledbetter, and Chris Szarek, during “To the Color.”

Under the leadership of Chris Szarek, VRC sponsored the event and was touted as a model program for other community colleges. Mr. Szarek is a U.S. Navy Seabee (retired).

Please see VRC’s webpage ( and my posts on this blog of 28 June 2017, 20 July 2016, 18 August 2015, and 17 June 2014.

I was again honored to sound the bugle call, “To the Color,” at the opening of the program. Dr. Hernandez was the Guest of Honor; Jade Jeter-Hill was the Emcee; Dr. Bill Keppler, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army (CASA) Emeritus, was the Guest Speaker; and the POW/MIA White Table Ceremony was led by Jen Matthews, Director, Black Box Theater. During a slide show of ECC veteran students, staff and faculty, a trio of T.C. Kouyeas, Jr., Chris Szarek, and Kelvin Nesvog, performend “I Won’t Back Down,” composed by the late Tom Petty.

Below is a photo gallery of a few of the people who participated in this year’s ceremony. Photos are courtesy of VRC, ECC. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.


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“Taps” at Annual Skyline Memorial Walk in Seattle

Posted by glennled on November 19, 2017

IMG_5975What’s it like, when Veterans Day rolls around each November and Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day are fast approaching, to live in a retirement community? If you’ve lost a spouse or child or family or friends or pets, it might be quite lonely. Why not remember, honor, and celebrate those who have passed? That’s the idea behind the 3rd Annual Memorial Walk at Skyline at First Hill, a Presbyterian retirement community in downtown Seattle near St. James Cathedral and Harborview Hospital.

The Memorial Walk is in a lovely courtyard between the facility’s two wings: Skyline Towers (for independent living) and Skyline Terraces (for assisted living). Adjacent is a IMG_5972room where the ceremony was conducted on 8 November. In the weeks prior, residents were asked to submit the names of people they want to be remembered. This year, some 200 names were reverently read aloud to the attendees. Afterwards, people wandered through the courtyard, remembering again.

For more information and photos, please see my post of 10 November 2016. Simply click on that month in the left column of this blog. For the second year in a row, I was honored to sound “Taps” on my Getzen bugle at the close of the ceremony.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.


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Annual “15 Minutes of Fame” at the Independence Day Parade in Edmonds

Posted by glennled on July 10, 2017


Lynnwood Community Band plays the famous march, “Washington Post,” at Edmonds Independence Day Parade, 2017

“9-11” changed everything. As we veterans marched in the parade through the streets of downtown Edmonds on Independence Day, the crowd of thousands continuously clapped and cheered. To us on this perfect, sunny, 71-degree day, the parade was a shower of blessings such as we ordinary men and women undoubtedly will never experience for anything else in our lives. We are not sports or rock stars.

I wore my black and white POW-MIA t-shirt—“You Are Not Forgotten.” I carried my beautiful Getzen Field Trumpet, proud to be the VFW Post 1040’s Bugler.

This parade is our annual “fifteen minutes of fame,” and I will drink of this fountain again next year, God willing.

Photos by Nancy MacDonald and Janelle Squires. Please click on any photo below to enlarge it.

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Stories of Sacrifice on Memorial Day at Veterans Park in Lynnwood, 05-29-2017

Posted by glennled on June 29, 2017

Who knows the stories of all the people who came to Veterans Park in downtown Lynnwood on Memorial Day, 2017, to honor those who died while serving in our country’s armed services? And think of all the other stories of all the other people who gathered at similar ceremonies throughout our nation and the world on this special day.

It brings to mind the closing stanza of the most famous war poem, “In Flanders Fields,” by Major John McCrae, a Canadian brigade doctor during World War I:

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.

Whatever their individual stories, they all sacrificed their lives for us. Indeed, we live in gratitude in this blessed “land of the free and the home of the brave.”

And so it was on this Monday when Gavin, a former trumpet student of mine and a 7th-grader at Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell, and I sounded “Echo Taps” to close this year’s ceremony—he, a Boy Scout with the Bugling Merit Badge, and me, former Boy Scout, a Navy Vietnam veteran, VFW Post 1040 Bugler, now 77, lucky man.

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Fourth Annual Memorial Day Ceremony at Edmonds Community College

Posted by glennled on June 28, 2017



Kyle Gaul, piper, leads the procession across the Edmonds Community College campus.

On 24 May at Edmonds Community College (ECC), veterans, their relatives and friends, and college officials and students gathered at the Black Box Theatre on campus for the 4th Annual Memorial Day Ceremony. The event is sponsored by the Veterans Resource Center at ECC, headed by Chris Szarek, Director, USN (Ret).

The Guest of Honor and featured speaker was Shannon Sessions, Air Force Veteran and Lynnwood City Council member. After this portion of the indoor ceremony, the group processed to the nearby Boots-to-Books-and-Beyond Monument for the public wreath-laying ceremony.

I had the privilege to sound two bugle calls, “To the Color” and “Taps,” on my Getzen Field Trumpet. Other performing musicians were Native American flautist, Peter Ali, and bagpiper, Kyle Gaul.

For more information about the Memorial Day ceremonies at ECC, please see my blog posts of:

All photos are by Nathan MacDonald, courtesy of the Veterans Resource Center. On the left, Buck Weaver (90+), WWII Veteran, leads the audience in singing, “God Bless America.” On the right is the Color Guard, VFW Post 1040, near the Boots-to-Books-and-Beyond Monument. Please click on either photo to enlarge it.

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“To the Color,” Pacific Little League Day in Lynnwood, 4-22-2017

Posted by glennled on June 7, 2017

Color Guard rehearsal, PLL Day, Lynndale Park, Lynnwood, 4-22-'17 - Photo by

Glenn Ledbetter, VFW Post 1040 Bugler, rehearses the presentation of the colors with members of Girl Scout Troop 44193. Photo courtesy of

Here comes Spring, and I start watching the calendar more closely. Here comes April. Here comes Baseball. Here comes Pacific Little League Day. Here comes my sixth annual opportunity to sound the bugle call, “To the Color,” as I stand in front of home plate at Harry H. Moore Field at Lynndale Park in Lynnwood, Washington. I tell you, it’s such an honor. I love it. And I love playing my beautiful Getzen Field Trumpet (bugle). This year, the Color Guard was composed of kids from Girl Scout Troop #44193 and Boy Scout Troop #331.

For more information about the Pacific Little League and its recent season-opening ceremonies, please see my previous blog posts on these dates:

  • 19 July 2016
  • 4 May 2015
  • 7 June 2014
  • 26 May 2013
  • 22 May 2012

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150th-151st “Taps” on a Saturday at Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery in Seattle

Posted by glennled on December 31, 2016

So, who’s counting? Buglers, that’s who. And yes, I am aware that some have sounded “Taps” thousands of times and that I evergreen-washelli-seattle-wa-0021-copynever will reach those numbers. For one thing, I don’t live near a national cemetery, and for another, it’s my age. But on Saturday, 17 December, I passed another of my own, personal, little milestones.

In freezing weather, at the Wreaths Across America ceremony at Veterans Cemetery at Evergreen-Washelli (E-W) in north Seattle at about 9:30 a.m., I sounded “Taps” for the 150th time while serving as bugler with the VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard during the past five years. Then at noon, I did it again at the North Evergreen Court Mausoleum (also at E-W) for the entombment of Lois Kathryn Grasmick, the wife of an Army veteran.

In honor of those who have served, I had my new Getzen bugle engraved with this inscription: John 15:13.

Photos below by Tonya Christoffersen, courtesy of Navy Wives Club of America, Totem 277. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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“Taps” at 7th Annual Wreaths Across America Ceremony at Evergreen-Washelli, Seattle

Posted by glennled on December 30, 2016


Wreaths Across America, Veterans Cemetery, Evergreen-Washelli, Seattle, 12-17-2016

When the 7th Annual Wreaths Across America (WAA) ceremony commenced on Saturday, 17 December 2016, at Veterans Cemetery, Evergreen-Washelli, in north Seattle, the temperature was 27 degrees (F). Members of the VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard teased me (with a little too much glee) that the mouthpiece of my Getzen bugle would freeze to my lips when I sounded “Taps.” But I’m an old dog. That was Nev-va Gonna Hop-pen!

The local ceremony is hosted by the Navy Wives Club of America (NWCA), Totem 277 (Seattle to Burlington), and Lorraine Zimmerman again was the emcee. The ceremony is now held annually on the 3rd Saturday in December.

The guest speaker was Michael Schindler, Navy veteran and CEO of Operation Military Family Cares, a non-profit organization based in Edmonds, where he and his family live (see He spoke about each of the three elements of WAA’s mission:

  • REMEMBER our fallen U.S. veterans
  • HONOR those who serve
  • TEACH our children the value of freedom

Afterwards, I told him that his speech was worthy of being delivered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Here are a few excerpts.

“Fewer than 7% of Americans living today have worn the uniform—and less than 1% today are on the frontlines actively standing guard over our freedom. So it is our duty as parents, teachers, as leaders to help our youth understand the need for sacrifice…Imagine for a moment if we taught and required our youth to SERVE first…that “giving up” of time [to serve and honor] becomes an investment in others. And ultimately an investment in themselves. That is value [added to a person’s life]…Today it is our obligation to teach our children that freedom requires sacrifice…If you choose to wear the uniform, you will become one of American’s Greatest Assets—and your investment of time, sweat, tears, will result in a reward that is priceless—freedom.”


Color Guard marches past Honor Guard

For more information about WAA, please see my past blog posts regarding this annual ceremony. Simply use the Archives in the left column of this blog or search for “Wreath” in the search box in the upper right column to find my posts of:

  • 5 February 2016
  • 28 April 2015
  • 9 January 2013
  • 16 December 2011

Photos are by Tonya Christoffersen, courtesy of NWCA, Totem 277. Please click on any photo below to enlarge it.

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My Trumpet Student Sounded “Echo Taps” with Me on 2016 Veterans Day Ceremony in Lynnwood

Posted by glennled on December 21, 2016


Glenn Ledbetter and Aidan, “Echo Taps” buglers

Did you know that “Echo Taps” is not an official U.S. military bugle call and is not to be sounded at funeral and graveside ceremonies? But because people like it, it is often used at other ceremonies, as it was this year on 11 November at Veterans Park in Lynnwood. During my time as bugler for VFW Post 1040, we first used a trumpet student of mine to play the “echo” part on Memorial Day, 1 June 2013. Ever since, we have continued to use them on both Memorial Day in May and Veterans Day in November (except one when I was sick).

In all, so far, six of my students have sounded “Echo Taps” with me in seven such ceremonies—Josiah, Vaughan, Robert (twice), Sarah, Gavin, and Aidan. Aidan did so this past Veterans Day. He is an 8th grader at Washington Middle School in Seattle and started taking private trumpet lessons with me earlier this year (see my blog post of 13 April 2016).

If you’re curious about additional coverage of “Echo Taps” in this blog, please see my posts of:

  • 19 July 2011—echo by Roy Pollock, Medal of Honor ceremony
  • 2 July 2012—echo by Bob O’Neal, War of 1812 Bicentennial ceremony
  • 19 November 2012—echo by Richard Haydis, Veterans Day ceremony
  • 1 June 2013—echo by Josiah Chupik, Memorial Day ceremony
  • 19 June 2014—echo by Robert Zhou, Memorial Day ceremony
  • 15 April 2015—echo by Sarah Dunsmore, Veterans Day ceremony
  • 17 September 2015—echo by Robert Zhou, Memorial Day ceremony
  • 22 July 2016—echo by Gavin [name withheld], Memorial Day ceremony

Photo by Rick Grambihler.

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