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Archive for the ‘Ceremonies & Celebrations’ Category

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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Memorial Day Essentials on 31 May at Veterans Park, Lynnwood

Posted by glennled on August 14, 2021

For the second year in a row, due to Covid restrictions, VFW Post 1040 performed a shortened, non-advertised Memorial Day commemoration ceremony at Veterans Park in Lynnwood. Normally, the ceremony would draw 200 or more people, and there would be music and speeches and presentations and honors and rifle salutes and “Taps” and more. It would take a half hour or more, and then at noon, the flag would be raised from half-staff to full-staff, accompanied by “To the Color” on the bugle.

This year, only the essentials were kept on the program:

  • “Amazing Grace” by Piper Kevin Auld and two members of the Northwest Junior Pipe Band;
  • “Armed Forces Medley” on the P.A. system;
  • Laying of the wreaths by Patricia McCarty and John Beam, Commander, VFW Post 1040;
  • Rifle salute by the Post Honor Guard;
  • “Taps” by me; and
  • Raising the flag to the top at noon.

Please see http://www.vfw1040.org, http://www.nwjpb.org, and http://www.goldstarmomwa.org.

The City of Lynnwood recorded it all (except the flag raising) in this 9:19-minute video (please see https://youtu.be/lWCOAdCS3Jg). As you’ll see and hear, I lead off with the bugle call, “Assembly,” on my Getzen Field Trumpet (bugle) and sound “Taps” at the 8:05-minute.

We’re all hoping that on Veterans Day, 11 November, we’ll be able to resume celebrating with the customary, full program involving more people and organizations, open to the public.

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Bugle Calls at National Vietnam War Veterans Day Ceremony in Shoreline

Posted by glennled on April 7, 2021

President Barack Obama proclaimed 29 May 2012 as Vietnam Veterans Day, and by law in 2017, it became National Vietnam War Veterans Day. To my chagrin, both events slipped by me, a Vietnam War Veteran and a member of both the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) and VVA (Vietnam Veterans Association). I first heard of it when I was asked to sound “Echo Taps” at the Shoreline Veterans Recognition Plaza on 27 March 2021, two days before the official date (29th).

Col David Gibson, USAF (Ret.), Keynote Speaker. Photo by CPO Ronald A. Jones, LAC-USV-JSC.

The keynote speaker, Col. David Gibson, USAF (Ret.), a Vietnam veteran, spoke of the Three Big Lies about the Vietnam War; the politically-driven, overly restrictive Rules of Engagement; and the imperative that America never enter a war without the intent and will to win it. He delivered his own “Welcome Home” message to the Vietnam veterans attending this ceremony. [“9-11” radically changed the American people’s attitude toward our military.]

L to R: Joe Fitzgerald, Commander, VFW Post 3063, ballard; Bugler, Boy Scout Troop 312, Edmonds; and Glenn Ledbetter, VFW Post 1040, Lynnwood. Joe is the original owner of the bugle, gifted by Honor Guard, VFW Post 1040, to the Scout.

Who would join me, as VFW Post 1040 Bugler, and sound the “Echo” part of “Taps”? The same Boy Scout from Troop 312 in Edmonds who did it with me at this same place on Independence Day last year (please see my previous post of 29 July 2020). This year, however, he played the “Echo” on his Getzen bugle, not his trumpet. And thereby hangs a tale.

Our scout has often sounded “Taps” at funeral services with the Post 1040 Honor Guard. That was suspended, however, when, last August, he had a terrible accident on his mountain bike. He took a jump on the trail and crashed. His injuries were quite serious and have taken all these many months to heal. Frank Martinez, Commander of the Honor Guard of VFW Post 1040, polled the members for ideas of a gift we could present to the boy. I suggested a bugle and found one, a beauty, owned by Joe Fitzgerald, Commander of VFW Post 3063 in Ballard. We had it engraved, “HONOR GUARD – VFW POST 1040” and presented it to him. He loves it, as I do mine (see my post of 4 May 2015). These bugles play so easily with such a beautiful, full, solid tone.

ECHO TAPS

Covid-19 put the clamps on most of my performances in public for a whole year. The church orchestra in which I play is still on hold after the original lockdown in March 2020 cancelled in-person services. Same for performances of my one-hour trumpet shows at retirement communities–they all cancelled their weekly musical entertainment hours. I no longer drove to my clients’ homes to teach private trumpet lessons. We switched to online Zoom lessons. Throughout the 2020 summer, I did no busking in Edmonds to raise money for the VFW. Skyview Middle School, where I teach beginning trumpet class, also switched to Zoom instructrion in the fall.

Only now are things opening up a little. Now that I’ve had my two Modera vaccination shots for Covid, I’m booked at several retirement communities again, playing one or another of my six trumpet shows. And several military ceremonies are coming up–Armed Forces Day (15 May), Memorial Day (31 May), Flag Day (14 June), and Independence Day (4 July). We’re easing back into performances, and that means I’ll be posting here again, starting with this one.

Photos are by Joe Fitzgerald, Richard Rees, and CPO Ronald A. Jones, LAC-USV-JSC.

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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

IMG_2115

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

IMG_7330 - Drew LaCombe

“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.”

IMG_4403 - 4th

“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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