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Posts Tagged ‘Memorial Day’

VFW Post 1040 Hosts Memorial Day Ceremony at Veterans Park, Lynnwood

Posted by glennled on June 19, 2014

photo from phoneOn 26 May, when we arrived at Veterans Park in downtown Lynnwood near the public library, the flag of the United States was at half mast. It remained there only until noon, when it was raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day. The symbolism of this is for us, the living, to remember and honor those who came before and sacrificed their all, while we resolve to continue the fight for libery and justice for all…that they shall not have died in vain. That’s part of America, the beautiful.

Many attendees at this year’s ceremony said it was the best ever. For example, the Northwest Junior Pipe Band, under the direction of Kevin Auld, are getting so good that they are fund-raising in order to compete in the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, Scotland in 2015. Please see http://www.nwjpb.org and http://www.theworlds.co.uk. At this ceremony, they played “Scotland, the Brave,” “The Rowan Tree,” “God Bless America,” and “Amazing Grace.”

Service flag, WWII-era, indicating three family members in military service, one of whom died during the war

Service flag, WWII-era, indicating three family members in military service, one of whom died during the war

A special wreath was laid this year by Myra Rintamaki, a Gold Star mother, in honor of the fallen. Her son, Cpl. Stephen Rintamaki, US Marine Corps, was killed in action in Iraq on 16 September 2004. The Gold Star Mothers Club is comprised of such mothers. Its origin comes from World War I, which the USA entered in 1917. George Vaughn Seibold, 23, an American, flew British planes with the 148th U.S. Aero Squadron of the British Royal Flying Corps. That prompted his mother, Grace Darling Seibold, to do community service, visiting returning servicemen in hospitals in the Washington, D.C. area. Suddenly, his letters stopped, and on 11 October 1918, George’s wife in Chicago received a box marked, “Effects of deceased Officer 1st Lt. George Vaughn Seibold.” He’d been killed in action in an air battle on 26 August. His body was never identified.

Gold Star Mothers stamp, a commemorative issue in 1948

Gold Star Mothers stamp, a commemorative issue in 1948

Grace organized a group of grieving mothers whose sons had lost their lives in military service. During that war, families of service members displayed a banner, known as a service flag, in a window of their homes. The banner is defined as a white field surrounded by a red border. A blue star on the white field represents each family member serving in the Armed Forces of the USA during time of war or hostilities. A gold star represents a family member who died during service, regardless of the cause. On 4 June 1928, twenty-five mothers established the national organization, American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. It continues to operate today, commonly known as the Gold Star Mothers Club. To learn more, please see http://www.goldstarmoms.com and http://www.goldstarmoms.com/Depts/WA_ID_OR_AK/WashChapt/WashChapt.htm.

Photos by Nancy MacDonald. To enlarge a photo, simply click on it.

 

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Bugle Calls at Memorial Day Ceremony, Edmonds Community College

Posted by glennled on June 17, 2014

Veterans Monument, Edmonds Community College

“From Boots to Books,” Veterans Monument, Edmonds Community College

On 21 May, Edmonds Community College (ECC) held a ceremony to honor those who died during military service–that’s what Memorial Day is all about. As an Honor Guard member of VFW Post 1040, I was fortunate to be a participant. I’m the post bugler, and I got to sound three bugle calls: “Assembly,” “To the Color,” and “Taps.”

Chris Szarek arranged the impressive, dignified program. Chris is the first director of the X-DSC_0196 (2) Veterans Resource Center at ECC, which was established in 2012, to “assist veterans in navigating enrollment, help them access educational and financial benefits, and offer other resources while veterans attend college.” The program started in the Black Box Theatre in Mukilteo Hall, shifted outdoors to the bronze monument entitled “From Boots to Books,” and concluded with a flag-lowering ceremony at the flag plaza. Incidentally, the monument was unveiled in June, 2010.

The guest speaker was Michael G. Reagan, a Vietnam veteran and local artist who has drawn portraits of ~3800 fallen military men and women as part of his Fallen Heroes Project. Please see my post of 19 November 2011 (find it in the Archives in the left-hand column) and his website, http://www.fallenheroesproject.org. Reagan has helped raise more than $10 million for a long list of charities.

Leonard Martin, Guest of Honor, U.S. Army veteran of WW II

Leonard Martin, Guest of Honor, U.S. Army veteran of WW II

 

The Guest of Honor at the ceremony was Leonard Martin (89) of Snohomish, WA. As a corporal in the 104th Infantry Division, “The Timberwolves,” U.S. Army, he landed at Utah Beach in Normandy, in September, 1944. They fought their way up to Holland, and he was captured on 31 October 1944. He spent the next six months as a POW in a German camp. He was liberated on 13 April, and V-E Day came on 8 May 1945.

Dr. Jean Hernandez, President, Edmonds Community College

Dr. Jean Hernandez, President, Edmonds Community College

Another featured speaker was Dr. Jean Hernandez, president of ECC since January, 2011. How different is that from 1967-69! That’s when, as a Vietnam veteran, I was an Assistant Professor of Naval Science at the University of Washington, teaching NROTC on campus. The UW president would never have spoken at one of our memorial ceremonies. This was the time of violent campus protests about the Vietnam War. In fact, on 18 September 1968, I came to work and found that Clark Hall had been the target of an arson fire–someone had attempted to burn down the NROTC building! The fire did about $100,000 in damage.

So, thanks to Dr. Hernandez and others, there is a Veterans Resource Center and a veterans monument at ECC, and on this 21 May, she spoke eloquently about Memorial Day. I hope this ceremony is an annual event.

Photos are courtesy of the Veterans Resource Center at ECC. Some were taken by Todd Clayton and others by Susie Beresford. 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, Sousa, and Tchaikovsky at Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery in Seattle on Memorial Day

Posted by glennled on June 3, 2011

Veterans Memorial Cemetery, photo by Thad Westhusing, http://www.thadsworld.net

Picture 5,000 white marble markers on the graves of veterans interred at Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery in north Seattle on the grounds of the larger Evergreen Washelli Cemetery. Imagine at least 700 people gathered there for the 85th Annual Memorial Day Celebration. That’s what happened Monday, 30 May. “Ya shoulda been there”–such sights to see and sounds to hear! I especially enjoyed the prominent role of music in the celebration.

It began with a prelude concert by the 50-member Symphonic Wind Ensemble from Seattle Pacific University (SPU), conducted by Gerry Jon Marsh. Among the pieces they played was a patriotic march, a well-loved overture, and an uplifting medley of the anthems of the five military branches. First, John Philip Sousa’s magnum opus, “Stars and Stripes Forever,” stirred the crowd, as it always does. In fact, it is so popular that in 1987, Congress made it the National March of the United States.  As Sousa wrote in his autobiography, ” … Suddenly [while aboard ship returning from Europe to New York in 1896], I began to sense a rhythmic beat of a band playing within my brain. Throughout the whole tense voyage, that imaginary band continued to unfold the same themes, echoing and re-echoing the most distant melody. I did not transfer a note of that music to paper while I was on the steamer, but when we reached shore, I set down the measures that my brain-band had been playing for me, and not a note of it has ever changed.”

Then came the 1812 Overture, written in 1880 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky to commemorate Russia’s defense of Moscow against Napoleon’s advancing Grande Armée at the Battle of Borodino on 7 September 1812. At this battle, there were an estimated 100,000 casualties. Napoleon won a Pyrric victory and then captured Moscow, facing little resistance. The Russians had burned part of the city, and Napoleon’s army was weakened, its resources depleted and its supply lines overextended. Without winter stores, the army was forced to retreat. From mid-October through December, it faced several overwhelming obstacles on its long retreat:

Seattle American Legion Post 1 Commander Francis "Frank" Albin. Photo by Greg Gilbert, The Seattle Times

frigid temperatures, famine, harassing cossacks and Russian forces barring the retreat route. Napoleon abandoned the army in December. By the time it reached the relative safety of Poland, the Grande Armée was reduced to one-tenth its original size.

On 20 August 1882, seventy years after the battle, the overture debuted in Moscow in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Marsh says that Tschaikovsky opens the overture with the Russian hymn, “God Preserve Thy People,” and returns to it near the ending when the music depicts God’s intervention in the invasion, causing unprecedented severe winter weather to decimate Napoleon’s seemingly invincible French army.
 

The  SPU ensemble also played a medley of five military anthems in tribute to each branch and those who served in them: Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. Veterans in the crowd stood to the applause of the audience when their anthem was played.

The first Memorial Day ceremony at Evergreen Washelli (the Makah Indian word for west wind) occurred in 1927. Marsh says that the SPU ensemble has played at each of these ceremonies for more than 15 years. Students get class credit for doing so. They are required to perform community service once a school quarter, and this event satisfies that requirement for spring quarter. “They enjoy doing it,” he says. For more information about instrumental music at SPU, visit http://www.spu.edu/depts/fpa/music/mus_homepage.html. Since 1985, Marsh has also been the Musical Director of the Cascade Youth Symphony Orchestras (see www.cyso.us/). In 1998, Marsh was inducted into the inaugural Washington Music Educators Association (WMEA) Hall of Fame.

Cooperman Rope Tension Drum, Civil War era

Also performing was the SPU Drum Corps, under the direction of Dan Adams, using authentic drums from

Cavalry bugler, Civil War Gold Proof, U.S. Mint

the Civil War era. These rope tension drums have calf skin drum heads, says Marsh. The Drum Corps was featured during the Parade of Colors. As a clinician, Adams has presented workshops on drumming of the Civil War. For more information on such drums, see www.cooperman.com/ropedrums/civilwar.htm.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, two SPU trumpeters played an echo version of  “Taps.” A history of “Taps” can be found at www.tapsbugler.com. For a complete history you can order “Twenty-Four Notes That Tap Deep Emotions—The Story of America’s Most Famous Bugle Call” by Jari Villanueva at www.nationalcivilwarbrassmusic.org/GiftShop. Next year, 2012, marks the 150th year since the composition of “Taps” during the Civil War in July, 1862.

On Saturday, 16 July, there will be a special ceremony at the Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery to honor the six Medal of Honor recipients who are interred at Evergreen Washelli (see www.washelli.com). They are Lewis Albanese, William C. Horton, Harry D. Fadden, William K. Nakamura, Robert R. Leisy, and Orville E. Bloch. On that day, I am honored to be scheduled to sound “Taps,” the most sacred duty of a bugler.

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