Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

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Posts Tagged ‘Honor Guard’

2015 Wreaths Across America–“Never Forget”

Posted by glennled on February 5, 2016

244 copy RS

“Never Forget”

On this same day at this same hour of every year, the same ceremony is conducted in more than 900 locations across America and around the world—wreaths are placed on graves in military cemeteries on the second Saturday of December. It is called Wreaths Across America (WAA) and is an outgrowth of the Arlington Wreath Project, started in 1992. As the popular ceremony spread across the country, WAA was formed in 2007.

Here in Seattle, the theme of the 6th annual ceremony was “Never Forget.” Michael G. Reagan, famed artist of the “Fallen Heroes Project,” was the Keynote Speaker. Reagan was awarded the Citizen Service Before Self Honor (known to some as The Civilian Medal of Honor) on 25 March 2015 by the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation in Arlington, VA.

The local ceremony was held at Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery, Evergreen-Washelli, on 12 December. Six military Medal of Honor recipients are buried there. The Navy Wives Club of America (NWCA), Totem 277, led by Donna Turner and Crystal Wilkerson, started hosting this event in 2010. Lorraine Zimmerman is the club’s WAA project leader and site coordinator for Everygreen-Washelli. Totem 277’s territory is from Seattle to Burlington.The primary element of the annual ceremony is the ceremonial wreath dedication by representatives of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines, and POW/MIAs.

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“Never Forget”–William W. Wilson, former POW, places flag on wreath, followed by hand salute. Photo by Jacque Hodgen.

Zimmerman introduced the POW/MIA representative with these moving words: “William (Bill) W. Wilson, former Prisoner of the Vietnam War, made 33 missions over NVN and Laos, flying an F-111 before being shot down while bombing the Red River docks in downtown Hanoi on 22 December 1972. He evaded capture for a week, was nearly rescued by a Super Jolly Green helicopter, and then was captured by the North Vietnamese on 29 December. He spent a month in the ‘Heartbreak” section of the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ before being moved to the ‘Zoo.’ He returned to U.S. control on the last C-141A out of Hanoi on 29 March 1973 during Operation Homecoming. Bill will now place a flag [on the POW/MIA wreath] in honor of the more than 83,000 United States Servicemen from all branches of the service whose last known status was either Prisoner of War or Missing in Action. These individuals have never returned to their families and homes. We will not forget you.”

Among the many voluntary participants was the VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard. As Post Bugler,  I played “Assembly” on my Super Olds cornet at 9 a.m. as Zimmerman issued the Call to Order and the 62nd Airlift Wing Air Force Honor Guard presented the colors. To close the ceremony, the VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard fired a perfect rifle salute, and I sounded “Taps.” Afterwards, participants and audience members placed wreaths on numerous tombstones in the cemetery.

For more information, please see:

One photo below is by Geoffrey T. Lewis. All others are by Jacque Hodgen. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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“Taps” and “To the Color” at Memorial Day Ceremony at Veterans Park, Lynnwood

Posted by glennled on June 2, 2012

“Taps” by Glenn Ledbetter, VFW Post 1040 Bugler. (by Nancy MacDonald)

Clearly, someone carefully chose the rhododendron species at Veterans Park in Lynnwood where the Memorial Day ceremony was held on Monday, 28 May—the dark pink flowers were still in full bloom as two wreaths were laid in honor of those American military men and women who died during our wars.

Martin Spani, Commander of Post 1040 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Lynnwood, emceed the ceremony which featured the Northwest Junior Pipe Band, singer Garret Lloyd King, and guest speaker, Lt. Col. Joseph S. Jimenez, U.S. Army (Ret.). The memorial wreaths were laid by Richard Larson, USN, WWII, of Lynnwood American Legion Post 37, and Art Clemente, USMC, WWII, Lynnwood VFW Post 1040. Boy Scouts of America, Lynnwood Troup 49, assisted by placing the flags in the park and distributing the programs. A crowd of almost 225 attended under an overcast sky.

Ray Colby, VFW Post 1040 Piper, plays “God Bless America.” (by Chaplain Mary Sjoberg)

The pipe band played “Green Hills,” “Battles Ore,” and “Amazing Grace.” Ray Colby, a Navy World War II veteran and the VFW Post 1040 piper, played “God Bless America.” After the rifle salute by the VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard, the post bugler (me) sounded “Taps.” Throughout the ceremony, the American flag flew at half-mast. At twelve noon, I played the bugle call, “To the Color,” as the flag was hoisted to full-mast by the post’s Color Guard.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it. Photographers’ names appear in parentheses after the captions of the respective photos. Incidentally, Chaplain Mary Sjoberg is a member of the U.S. Corps of Chaplains (USCOC)—see https://sites.google.com/site/unitedstatescorpsofchaplains/Home

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“Taps” for Stanley J. Chapin (1950-2012), Sheriff Deputy, King County

Posted by glennled on February 8, 2012

Officer Stanley J. Chapin was known as a local legend. “Out of all men in blue vests, Officer Chapin was the best,” wrote Jay Gilliland. A Memorial Mass in his honor was held Tuesday, 7 February, at St. Brendan Catholic Church in Bothell. It was attended by some 1200-1500 family members, friends, government and school officials, and fellow officers.

“Respect and serenity came forth as he spoke,” wrote Gilliland, “A man daily happy…a man of contentment every day standing true.” For those who knew him, he played numerous roles in their lives: husband, father, son, brother, friend, police officer, Army Captain, Sheriff Deputy, comrade, confidant, disciplinarian, counselor, role model, comedian, volunteer, teacher, and marathon champion.

After the Funeral Mass, the Honor Guard of the Washington Army National Guard rendered military honors, including a rifle salute. I followed, sounding “Taps” in farewell to this very special man who died at age 61 in his sleep during the night of 30 January. As a bugler, I have not yet played at a more moving ceremony.

For more about him, please see:

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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 the Father

Posted by glennled on July 22, 2011

“When all three of us salute the casket, that’s when you play ‘Taps,’” said the Sergeant of the Honor Guard, dressed to perfection in his military uniform.

About an hour later, the hearse drove up to the gravesite, and the pall bearers lifted the casket onto the frame directly above the dark, rectangular hole dug into the earth. As the large crowd gathered, a gentleman in a suit introduced himself and called me by name. He had

In Brice's Garden

seen me, dressed in all black, holding my cornet. He is the son of the deceased father, being laid to rest last Saturday alongside the body of his wife in the Resthaven 2 Section of Evergreen Washelli Cemetery along Highway 99 in north Seattle.

“I am a Vietnam veteran,” he said.

“So am I,” I replied. “It’s my honor and privilege to do this.”

He went to be seated at his place among the family and friends directly in front of the grave. From where I was standing near a distant Japanese maple tree, I saw the preacher say a few words, no more than five minutes, to the large crowd at the gravesite, and then I saw the three Washington National Guardsmen, two men and a woman, salute the casket. For the second time that day, I sounded the 24-notes of “Taps.”

The Honor Guard lifted the flag off the casket and carefully folded it into the familiar triangle. One passed it to the other, who took it to the son.

We have often seen this ritual, have we not, always done the same way, as our veterans are laid to rest in peace around the world? The guardsman kneels in front of the person, the widow or widower, the mother or father, the son or daughter, the sister or brother, whomever, and presents the flag, one white-gloved hand below, one above, and, looking him or her in the eyes, whispers something very short and dignified. Then the Honor Guard marches away and leaves.

With the gift of a perfectly folded flag, in one moment after a lifetime, the United States of America thanks the son and the surviving family for the armed service of the father. I shall never know how it feels to give or receive that flag. How could one maintain one’s composure at such a moment?

But I can give them “Taps,” and this I know: it’s all about love and honor before God—for that’s all there is to life.

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