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Archive for the ‘Ceremonies & Celebrations’ Category

“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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Independence Day: “I Stand for the Flag” Trumpet Show at Fairwinds Brighton Court in Lynnwood, After the Edmonds Parade

Posted by glennled on July 21, 2019

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Partial view of audience, “I Stand for the Flag” trumpet show at Fairwinds Brighton Court, Lynnwood, Independence Day, 2019

 

It was a special joy, coming back to Fairwinds Brighton Court in Lynnwood to perform my second one-hour trumpet show there. The audience was large—about 60. It’s where my dear mother-in-law, Ruth MacDonald, occupied Room 344 for three years, and she used to love to come to the room pictured above to hear musicians play and sing.

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Juna Davies, piano, accompanies Glenn Ledbetter, Getzen trumpet

This time, my show was “I Stand for the Flag,” comprised of 25 patriotic marches and songs. It was on Independence Day, the Fourth of July, in the afternoon, right after I had marched among other veterans in the Edmonds Parade, carrying the Navy flag and my Getzen bugle. My former performance at Brighton Court was of another of my shows, “Showtune Favorites” (please see my blog post of 29 September 2018).

At both performances, I was accompanied on the piano for certain songs by Juna Davies, a fellow resident and friend of Ruth’s. Together, we played six songs this time:

  • “The Navy Hymn” (Eternal Father, Strong to Save)
  • “This is My Country”
  • “America the Beautiful”
  • “God Bless America”
  • “You’re a Grand Old Flag”
  • “The Star-Spangled Banner”

Photos are courtesy of Fairwinds Brighton Court. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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On Flag Day at Covenant Shores, Mercer Island: “I Stand for the Flag” Trumpet Show

Posted by glennled on July 16, 2019

Glenn Ledbetter at Covenant Shores

“I Stand for the Flag” trumpet show at Covenant Shores on Flag Day, 14 June 2019

On Flag Day, 14 June, I returned to Covenant Shores Retirement Community on Mercer Island to perform a different show from the one I had performed about 13 months earlier. That was a show named “Showtune Favorites,” and this one is called “I Stand for the Flag.” It consists of 25 patriotic marches and songs and a bugle call, “Tattoo.” About 60 residents attended—an excellent turnout. To ensure that everyone could sing the last six songs to close the show, Nile Clarke and Chaplain Greg Asimakoupoulos distributed my handout of the lyrics to: 64218777_10157542828875774_385686663021461504_n

  • The Navy Hymn (Eternal Father, Strong to Save)
  • This is My Country
  • America the Beautiful
  • God Bless America
  • You’re a Grand Old Flag
  • The Star-Spangled Banner

It was grand.

On Flag Day, this retirement community was called “Covenant Shores,” but on 25 June, 11 days later, its name changed to “Covenant Living at the Shores.” This reflects its parent company’s own name change to Covenant Living Communities and Services (please see https://www.covliving.org/). For more information on this widely-known and revered Mercer Island retirement community, please see my blog post of 24 May 2018 and https://www.covlivingshores.org.

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Fairfield, WA Flag Day Parade—110 consecutive years, 1910-2019

Flag Day

Flag Day commemorates the adoption on June 14, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress, of the USA flag. In 1885, the idea of celebrating this event was born in Waubeka, Wisconsin when a 19-year old schoolteacher placed a 10″ flag with 38 stars in an inkwell and had his students write essays on what the flag means to them. He became a lifetime advocate of an annual observance, honoring of the birth of the flag. Flag ceremonies on 14 June had become quite prevalent by 1916, prompting President Woodrow Wilson to issue a proclamation establishing Flag Day as an annual national event. In 1949, President Harry S. Truman signed the legislation that designated 14 June 14th as national Flag Day and calling upon the President to issue a Flag Day proclamation annually. It is not an official, federal holiday.

Citizens display the flag at their homes and communities hold parades on Flag Day. And in 2010, the small farming town of Fairfield, Washington (southeast of Spokane, near the Idaho border) celebrated its “Centennial Parade”—the longest continuing Flag Day Parade in the nation, having begun there in 1910. That year, the census count established Fairfield’s population as 612. Please see https://fairfieldflagday.com/. In contrast, Appleton, Wisconsin (population almost 73,000 in 2010) holds an annual Flag Day Parade that draws crowds of 75,000 from the city and its surrounding region. Please see https://www.facebook.com/Appleton-Flag-Day-Parade-90849509066/.

Photos at Covenant Shores by Rev. Greg Asimakoupoulos, Chaplain. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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Milestone—My 200th Sounding of “Taps”—at Rotary Club, Mercer Island

Posted by glennled on June 17, 2019

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Glenn Ledbetter, VFW Post 1040 Bugler, sounds “Taps” for 200th time, 5-28-2019.

On Monday, 27 May, the nation observed Memorial Day, and I sounded “Taps” at Veterans Park in Lynnwood. The next day, I sounded it twice. In the morning, it was for a Hmong pilot who fought with America in the Vietnam War. The ceremony was held at the Hero’s Café in the Verdant Community Wellness Center in Lynnwood. In the afternoon, it was for those Americans who died while in military service, as remembered by members of the Rotary Club on Mercer Island. That ceremony was held at a luncheon in the Mercer Island Community Center, and it was the 200th time I’ve sounded “Taps” during the 9 years that I have been VFW Post 1040 Bugler. As usual, I used by lovely Getzen bugle at both ceremonies.

It’s a significant milestone for me, but buglers who live near a national or state veterans cemetery quickly and easily surpass my number. Some buglers have sounded “Taps” more than 5,000 times!

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Rev. Greg Asimakoupoulos (L) and Glenn Ledbetter (R

Let’s see—the first of my 200 was on 16 July 2011. Let’s call it 9 years ago. That’s an average of about 22 per year. Q: At that rate, how many more years will it take me to reach 5,000 soundings? A: 218. Q: How old will I be then? A: Almost 300. Forget it…trying for some goals just isn’t worth it.

I lived on Mercer Island for 34 years and served on the City’s Planning Commission for 10. It was Rev. Greg Asimakoupoulos, Chaplain at Covenant Shores Retirement Community, who invited me to sound “Taps” after his short speech at the end of the Rotary Club luncheon. Please see https://glennstrumpetnotes.com/2018/05/24/trumpet-show-at-covenant-shores-retirement-community-on-mercer-island/.

Photos are by Rev. Greg Asimakoupoulos.

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