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Posts Tagged ‘Michael G Reagan’

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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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.

Posted in Ceremonies & Celebrations | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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