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Posts Tagged ‘Evergreen Washelli’

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, http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/, as well as http://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil.

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 http://www.vfw1040.org.

For an 11-photo slideshow with captions by Alan Berner, The Seattle Times, please see https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/seattle-area-fallen-veterans-honored-in-wreaths-across-america-ceremonies.

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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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

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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 http://www.OMFCares.org). 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.”

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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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5th Annual Wreath Dedication at Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery, Seattle

Posted by glennled on April 28, 2015

Lianna Bennett sits at the headstone of her grandfather U.S. Army Col. William W. Etchemendy during Wreaths Across America's 150th anniversary, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

Lianna Bennett sits at the headstone of her grandfather, U.S. Army Col. William W. Etchemendy, during Wreaths Across America’s ceremony, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

Every December, every year, the crowds keep getting bigger as the Wreaths Across America ceremony spreads and becomes more well-known. Here in Seattle, it was celebrated for the fifth time on 13 December 2014, at the Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery at Evergreen-Washelli. The prime sponsor of the local event is Navy Wives Clubs of America #277, led by Lorraine Zimmerman.

The 1st Corps Command Honor Guard performed Color Guard duties. For the fifth year in a row, the Honor Guard of VFW Post 1040 in Lynnwood furnished the rifle team and bugler for the rifle salute and bugle calls, “Assembly” and “Taps,” and as you know, I’m 1040’s Post Bugler. I’ve posted two other articles in this blog about this annual event (see my posts of 12/16/2011 and 1/9/2013).

This ceremony has its roots in the patriotic experience of the owner of the Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine, in 1992, when he and others took some surplus wreaths to be laid at selected tombstones, including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. At the third website in the list below, you can read the history of how this ceremony has spread nationwide since 2007, when the non-profit organization, Wreaths Across America (WAA), was formed.

In 2010, WAA and its national network of volunteers laid more than 220,000 memorial wreaths at 545 locations in the USA and beyond. One year later, Navy Wives Club #277 joined that group of volunteers in bringing the ceremony to Evergreen-Washelli and Seattle.

For additional information, please go to the following websites:

 

 

 

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Another Little Milestone–100 “Taps”

Posted by glennled on June 4, 2014

VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard, Acacia Cemetery, Seattle

VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard, Acacia Cemetery, Seattle

On 15 April, our federal income taxes came due. Yes, I made the deadline that afternoon, but only in the morning after I’d played “Taps” for the 100th time. Yes, I realize other buglers have sounded this call literally thousands of times, but I’m very glad to have done my little part for our veterans as bugler for VFW Post 1040 of Lynnwood.

On this occasion, the Post’s Honor Guard performed the flag ceremony with the Washington Army National Guard at Acacia Cemetery in Lake City as part of WAARNG’s Veterans Memorial Tribute Program (for more information on VMTP, please see my post of 5 January 2012). Jointly, we do this ceremony at Acacia, Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery in Seattle, and Edmonds Cemetery every month.

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“Taps” for Wreaths Across America Memorial Service at Evergreen-Washelli in Seattle

Posted by glennled on January 9, 2013

Courtesy of Wreaths Across America (WAA)

Courtesy of Wreaths Across America (WAA)

Last month on 15 December 2012, Wreaths Across America (WAA) sponsored and coordinated the placement of 420,000 remembrance wreaths by almost 200,000 volunteers on the headstones of our nation’s fallen military in 825 locations in America and abroad. At Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, more than 20,000 volunteers laid 110,662 wreaths. This was the 21st annual wreath-laying event.

Courtesy of WAA

Courtesy of WAA

In 1992 in Harrington, Maine, as the Christmas holiday season drew to a close, the Worcester Wreath Company found itself with a surplus of fresh, evergreen wreaths. The owner, Morrill Worcester, made arrangements to have the wreaths placed in one of Arlington cemetery’s older sections where fewer visitors were coming each year. A local trucking company transported the wreaths to Virginia, and American Legion, VFW, and other volunteers decorated each wreath with the traditional, hand-tied red bows and laid them on the headstones. There was also a special ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard, WAA ceremony, Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Evergreen-Washelli, Seattle, 12-15-’12. Photo by Nathan W. Bradshaw, PA3, USCG.

VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard, WAA ceremony, Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Evergreen-Washelli, Seattle, 12-15-’12. Photo by Nathan W. Bradshaw, PA3, USCG.

That started the annual pilgrimage to and event at Arlington National Cemetery which continues today. Others across the nation wanted to participate in their own national, state, and local cemeteries, and so in 2007, WAA was created. The mission of this non-profit organization, now based in Columbia Falls, Maine, is to “Remember, Honor, Teach.”

Lt, U.S. Coast Guard. Photo by Nathan Bradshaw, PA3, USCG

In the state of Washington, 18 cemeteries are affiliated with WAA. The four largest are the Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent (23,000+ graves; 15,500 veteran graves and 13,000  veteran columbarium niches); Evergreen-Washelli-Veterans Memorial Cemetery in north Seattle (5,000+ veteran graves); Mountain View Cemetery in Walla Walla (37,000 graves; 2,500 veteran graves); and Washington State Veterans Cemetery in Medical Lake (550 veteran graves).

At Veterans Memorial Cemetery at Washelli, this was the 3rd annual wreath laying ceremony sponsored by the Navy Wives Club #277. King5-TV again covered the event in a superb report. Please see http://www.king5.com/video/yahoo-video/200-wreaths-cemetery-183725091.html. You’ll see the VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard fire three perfect rifle volleys, hear the post piper play some of “Amazing Grace,” and hear me play “Taps” in the background as the reporter tells the story. For a description of the previous year’s event, please see my post of 16 December 2011.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it. Here are links to the websites of other organizations mentioned in this post:

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“Echo Taps” for War of 1812 Bicentennial Ceremony at Evergreen-Washelli in Seattle

Posted by glennled on July 2, 2012

War of 1812 Monument (front side), Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Evergreen-Washelli, Seattle

For six years, the Washington State Society, United States Daughters of 1812 (WSSUSD 1812), labored hard on its project to dedicate a monument honoring those veterans of the War of 1812 who died in Washington Territory. At last, the ceremony was held on Saturday, 23 June, at Evergreen-Washelli, Veterans Memorial Cemetery, in north Seattle. The war had started on 18 June, 200 years earlier, when President James Madison signed the declaration passed by Congress.

The beautiful monument at the foot of the Bell Tower was unveiled by WSSUSD 1812 President Linda Rae Lind of Bremerton. Inscribed on both sides are the names of 16 veterans for whom there are authentic records verifying that they served in the War of 1812 and died in Washington Territory. (Washington became the 42nd state in 1889.)

War of 1812 Monument (back side), Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Evergreen-Washelli, Seattle

Of the 16, Abel Ostrander was born first (1777) and William M. Stewart died last (1885), a span of 108 years. Ostrander came from New York and died in Cowlitz County in 1859. Stewart (born in 1794) came from Ohio and died in Pierce County.

Washington State Archivist, Jerry Handfield, was the guest speaker on this day. To conclude the outdoor ceremony, two members of the Washington State Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (WASSAR) fired their muskets in a rifle salute, immediately followed by the sounding of “Echo Taps” by me and Lt. Col. Bob O’Neal, U.S. Army (Ret.) who is WASSAR Color Guard Commander. I play a 1954 Super Olds cornet, and Bob plays a 1927 King Silvertone trumpet. Incidentally, 2012 is also the 150th anniversary of the composition of “Taps.”

The War of 1812, fought against the British in the U.S.A., Canada, and in the Great Lakes and on the high seas, is sometimes called the Second War of Independence. It is famous for many things still well-known in American culture. Let me list a few: first, the text of our national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner,” was written by Francis Scott Key during the defense of Ft. McHenry near Baltimore, MD, from British naval bombardment in September, 1814. Second, “Old Ironsides,” the USS Constitution, was never defeated in battle. Named by George Washington, she is the oldest commissioned naval vessel afloat and is berthed in Boston. Third, in the midst of the bloody battle between two frigates, USS Chesapeake and HMS Shannon, Master Commandant James Lawrence, captain of the Chesapeake, mortally wounded, issued his famous, final command to his men, “Don’t give up the ship!”  Fourth, after a naval battle on Lake Erie in September, 1813, Commodore Oliver Hazard

“Echo Taps” for War of 1812 Vets who died in Washington, sounded by Glenn Ledbetter, VFW Post 1040 Bugler, and Col. Bob O’Neal, SAR (not shown)

Gale Palmer and Stan Wills, SAR, fire musket salute

Perry, U.S. Navy, penned the famous words, “We have met the enemy and they are ours…” Fifth, the British burned the White House and the city of Washington in August, 1814. Sixth, in January, 1815, as the war drew to a close, Major General Andrew Jackson (“Old Hickory”) defeated the British Lieutenant General Sir Edward Pakenham in a lop-sided victory at the Battle of New Orleans. Seventh, Robert Fulton invented the “torpedo,” now known as an underwater mine, and designed the world’s first steam-powered warship, Demologos (later renamed Fulton).

The on-site photos in this post are courtesy of the Washington State Society, United States Daughters of 1812. Please click on any image to enlarge it. For further information on the War of 1812 and the organizations mentioned in this post, please see the following:

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“Taps” for King County Veterans Who Were Buried Without Military Funeral Honors

Posted by glennled on January 5, 2012

WAARNG Honor Guard reads the deceased veterans' names

Who’s ever heard of the VMT Program? Very few. There’s been almost no news coverage. Yet, as Post Bugler for VFW Post 1040 in Lynnwood, I have played “Taps” three times in the past three weeks for almost 600 veterans who recently died in King County, Washington—twice at ceremonies at Veterans Memorial Cemetery at Evergreen Washelli and once at Acacia Memorial Park in north Seattle. And that’s going to continue. What’s this all about?

All veterans are eligible for military funeral honors, but most survivors do not request them. Before 2010 in Washington state, when the moment for honors had passed, that was that. But now, tribute is later paid to them in absentia by the the Washington Army National Guard (WAARNG) through its Veterans Memorial Tribute Program (VMTP). Now, none are forgotten.

"Ready" to fire three volleys, VFW Post 1040 Firing Squad

The Honor Guard Program of the Army National Guard in Washington and 7 other states is headed by William A. (Bill) Graham, Jr., Regional Director and State Coordinator, located in Camp Murray near Ft. Lewis. When a person dies in Washington, he says, the funeral director typically submits a death worksheet to the Department of Health, Center for Health Statistics. On the worksheet, Question #12 asks whether the deceased was a veteran. Quarterly, the state forwards a list of all such veterans to the WAARNG which then checks this list against a national database of all veterans who already have been accorded military honors. It turns out that about 65% of eligible veterans do not receive military funeral honors. The VMTP remedies this.

Presenting the flag

WAARNG is the first in the nation to institute this tribute program. When VMTP first started in 2010, the state sent them data for 2008, 2009, and 2010 (to date). The 2008 and 2009 batches contained about 14,000 names each!

Mr. Graham says the goal is to furnish an Honor Guard for these mass committal services in all 39 counties of the state. The Honor Guard renders military funeral honors en masse for each new set of deceased veterans. Most are concentrated in King County. For a KREM-TV report on a memorial service held last October in Medical Lake in Spokane County, see http://www.krem.com/news/local/Tribute-program-honors-veterans-gaining-local-support-132498463.html.

With gratitude, respect and honor, the final salute

At a typically brief tribute ceremony, the names of the deceased vets are read aloud, a bell is rung, a prayer is offered, a poem is read, and the nation’s deep gratitude is expressed. In north King County, this is done twice a month by WAARNG’s Bellingham unit which usually reads about 200 new names each time—at Evergreen Washelli on the first Tuesday and at Acacia on the third Tuesday of each month. VFW Post 1040 furnishes the firing squad and the bugler—me, playing my Super Olds cornet, serial number 133097 with my Bach 8C mouthpiece. Similar honors are rendered monthly in south King County. Mr. Graham says that in less populous counties, the tribute ceremony would be rendered less frequently, depending upon the need. The public is welcome to attend.

Photos by Richard Larson at Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Evergreen Washelli; click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

 

WE REMEMBER THEM [excerpt]

At the rising of the sun and at its going down

We remember them…

As long as we live, they too will live;

for they are now a part of us

as we remember them.

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“Taps” for Wreaths Across America Ceremony at Veterans Memorial Cemetery

Posted by glennled on December 16, 2011

Last Saturday at 8:45 a.m., the 2nd Annual Wreath Laying ceremony was held in the Chimes Tower at Evergreen Washelli’s Veterans Memorial Cemetery in north Seattle. On the second Saturday of every December, similar ceremonies are conducted at Arlington National Cemetery, other veterans cemeteries in all 50 states, and veteran’s burial grounds around the globe. The Navy Wives Clubs of America led the volunteers who made this event happen here. See www.wreaths-across-amercia.org for a description of the national organization and event.

The Navy provided the color guard, and VFW Post 1040 of Lynnwood furnished the rifle team and bugler—me! You can see a video of the event and hear “Taps” at King-5 TV News,http://www.king5.com/news/cities/seattle/Holiday-wreaths-placed–135386858.html . The volunteers placed 100 wreaths on veterans graves here. There are six Medal of Honor and two Silver Star recipients buried at Evergreen Washelli (see my posts of 2 and 19 July 2011).

All but three of the photos below are courtesy of the Navy Wives Clubs of America. Click on any photo to enlarge it.

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“Taps” for Japanese-American WWII Veteran at Evergreen Washelli in Seattle

Posted by glennled on August 21, 2011

Yesterday, I played “Taps” as part of the military honors accorded a Japanese-American veteran who served in World War II after having first been interned at the Minidoka War Relocation Center in Hunt, Idaho with his family. Born in 1923 in Seattle, he was 18 when the U.S.A. entered the war. Within a year after internment, he enlisted in the Army. He served as a translator of Japanese for the Military Intelligence Service during the reconstruction of Japan. He died 25 December 2010. His wife, also born in Seattle, died 14 July 2011. They were married 61 years.

The graveside service at Evergreen Washelli Cemetery in Seattle was led by the head minister of Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Church. Near the end of the service, the Honor Guard carefully unfolded the American flag and dramatically displayed it to the family and friends. That was my signal to sound “Taps.”

I now own my version of “Taps.” Before, I had been experimenting with slight variations in the way I would play those 24-notes. But as of yesterday, I realized that I’ve now worked out every detail of how I play it. I’ve chosen the key signature, tempo, rhythm, phrasing, and dynamics. I know when to breathe, I know when to use vibrato, I know how long to hold each fermata, I know when to make the notes swell and when to let them fade. Whether loud or soft, I keep the tone solid.

The Honor Guard then folded the flag and presented it to a gentleman in a dark suit. Afterwards, he thanked me.

“Are you his son?” I asked.

“Yes.”

“A good life?” I asked.

“Yes, a wonderful life, a wonderful man!”

I said I served in the Navy and thanked him for his father’s service. I said I would like to know more about his story. “It’s my honor and privilege to play for him today.”

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