Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

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Posts Tagged ‘Bugles Across America’

“Taps” for Laurence Joseph Mensing (70), Career Army Specialist

Posted by glennled on February 22, 2019

 

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Once in awhile, a memorial service stands out as special among the many others at which I have sounded “Taps” during the past 10 years for a deceased veteran and his family and friends. Such was the case on Sunday, 10 February at Purdy & Walters Funeral Home at Floral Hills in Lynnwood.

It was between snowstorms that we gathered in the chapel at 1 p.m. to remember and honor Laurence Joseph (“Larry Joe”) Mensing, who passed away in Mountlake Terrace on 21 January 2019. His son, Joe, had contacted me through Bugle Across America (BAA) for “Taps.” The officant was Anne Jenny, herself a veteran. Two of Larry Joe’s younger brothers and a niece spoke about his important impacts upon their lives. Their IMG_2701testimonies were emotional, even tearful. He was clearly adored and honored by his family and friends. One brother, with choked, cracking voice, said Larry Joe was his best friend and talked about how the Army had changed his older brother into a dignified gentleman. Another brother, pounding the podium and mourning the loss, said that all his life, he wanted to be just like Larry Joe. The niece said Larry Joe was known for pranks and teasing, and from a young age, she was always certain that he loved her.

Born and raised in Montana, Specialist (SPC) Mensing had joined the Army in 1968 and served almost 24 years. Afterwards, he was an active member of the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He met his wife, Yoko Makishi, while stationed at Fort Buckner, Okinawa. They were married 45 years and had four children and six grandchildren. She preceded him in death. “After retiring,” reads the program, “more than anything ‘G-PA’ ala ‘Pa Pa’ loved spending time with family and friends.” He was the family leader. IMG_2720

The Army Honor Guard consisted of 9 soldiers; I had never seen so many at such a ceremony. They fired the three-volley rifle salute, and as six of them held the flag level above the casket, I sounded “Taps” on my beautiful Getzen bugle with the BAA engraving on the bell (see my blog post of 4 May 2015).

Later, as I watched the audience file out of the chapel, there were lots of red eyes and wet cheeks. They could not hold back. He was that beloved. On leaving, I went up to Joe, who held the flag in his arms. We shook hands, and I thanked him for the honor and privilege of sounding “Taps.” Like the others, his eyes were wet and red. RIP, Larry Joe. You were Special.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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“Taps” for Skyline’s Annual Memorial Walk in Seattle, Honoring Veterans

Posted by glennled on November 10, 2016

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Skyline at First Hill is a Presbyterian retirement community in downtown Seattle near St. James Cathedral and Harborview Hospital. Between its two wings, one for independent living (Skyline Towers) and the other for assisted living (Skyline Terraces), is a courtyard. That’s where I stood in the rain on 2 November to sound “Taps” on my Getzen bugle after the responsive reading of “We Remember Them” by Sylvan Kamens and Rabbi Jack Riemer, which is found in the Jewish Prayer Book (please see http://hmd.org.uk/resources/poetry/we-remember-them-sylvan-kamens-rabbi-jack-riemer). Then “Taps” closed the second annual “Skyline Memorial Walk” ceremony hosted by Skyline’s chaplain, The Reverend Elizabeth Graham.

img_4393Earlier, the residents and staff of Skyline had been invited to submit the names of veterans and others whom they wished to be remembered in advance of Veterans Day, 11 November. Their names—about 200—were read aloud, interspersed with periodic bell ringing, before the audience. Twenty, mostly elderly people gathered in the Madrona Community Room: two men, 18 women, silent in their memories of their dear veterans of WWI, WWII, and every conflict since, and others.

The names were then written on individual placards staked into the fertile soil in the planters in the courtyard, where they remained for a week so that the residents, staff and guests could walk among them. img_4419

Isn’t it amazing? In place after place across the nation, around the world, year after year, our veterans are honored. The lowest, the highest, it matters not. To paraphrase a famous saying, when you put on the military uniform, whether on active duty, retired, or national guard or reserve, you write a blank check at that point in your life, made payable to “The United States of America,” for an amount of “up to and including your life.” Engraved on my bugle is a citation of the Biblical verse, John 15:13. We honor such men and women.

Rev. Graham found me through my membership in Bugles Across America (please see http://www.buglesacrossamerica.org/ and my post of 4 May 2015). I’m glad she did. I’m glad I played cornet through high school and college. I’m glad I teach private trumpet lessons. I’m glad I teach beginning brass at Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell. I’m glad I play trumpet in the Husky Alumni Band. I’m glad I play in the Alderwood Community Church Orchestra in Lynnwood. I’m glad I’m the VFW Post 1040 Bugler. All these things enable me to sound “Taps” for veterans every chance I get—it’s my honor, and I’m grateful. Lucky me.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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My New Getzen Bugle!

Posted by glennled on May 4, 2015

Getzen Field Trumpet, M2003E, with B-flat tuning slide

 

Getzen Bugle with 3C Mouthpiece and Carrying Case

Getzen Bugle with 3C Mouthpiece and Carrying Case

On 17 February 2015, UPS delivered a carefully wrapped package from Getzen Company, Inc. of Elkhorn, Wisconsin directly to my front door. Instantly, I knew what was inside—my new Getzen Field Trumpet!—commonly known as a bugle. I played it publicly for the first time with the Honor Guard, VFW Post 1040, on the following Saturday at a graveside service at the IOOF Cemetery in Monroe, WA.  It’s sonorous!

I bought model M2003E with a clear lacquer finish. It bears logos for Getzen and Bugles Across America (BAA) and a special etching on mine: John 15:13. As you know, that’s where Jesus says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

The bell is one piece, hand-hammered yellow brass. Like all Getzens I’ve ever played, it blows easily, with minimal resistance, and the tone is solid and rich. I bought the extra G tuning slide, too. I plan to use the G tuning slide for “Taps” and “Funeral March” and the B-flat slide for most other bugle calls. The U.S. Army and Navy use at least 67 bugle calls.

In addition to being Post Bugler for VFW Post 1040, I am also a member of BAA, a national organization that furnishes live buglers for military funerals, memorials and ceremonies. The designation, “American Heritage Elite,” is given by Getzen to those field trumpets purchased by members of BAA. See http://www.buglesacrossamerica.org. For more about Getzen instruments, see http://www.getzen.com.

 

 

 

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