Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

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Posts Tagged ‘Navy’

“Taps” for WWII Navy Veteran at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent

Posted by glennled on February 5, 2013

Tahoma National Cemetery, Kent, WA, view of Mt. Rainier

Tahoma National Cemetery, Kent, WA, view of Mt. Rainier

As of now, I have played “Taps” 50 times at various veterans’ memorials and funerals in the Greater Seattle area. The latest veteran so honored was Richard Louis Larson (1927-2013), whose cremated remains were inurned at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent on 2 February.

A U.S. Navy veteran of World War II, Richard was renown for his life-long, kind service of others. After he heard me sound “Taps” at a Veterans Day ceremony, he told me he had been a bugler aboard the aircraft carrier, USS Shangri-La (CV-38), where he served from 1945-48 while I was a boy in Texas. According to his memorial service program, Richard saw the first jet airplanes launch from and land on a carrier deck. When that ship crossed the equator, he entered King Neptune’s Realm and

USS Shangri-La (CV-38) underway in the Pacific, crew paraded on flight deck, 17 August 1945, just after V-J Day. U.S. Navy photo.

USS Shangri-La (CV-38) underway in the Pacific, crew paraded on flight deck, 17 August 1946, almost exactly one year after V-J Day. U.S. Navy photo.

was transformed through an old Navy tradition from a pollywood to a shellback. I later learned from Brian Seguin, a fellow VFW and American Legion member with Richard, that in 1946, he participated in Operations Crossroads, during which atomic bombs were tested at the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. In September 2011, Brian escorted Richard on his Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. (see www.honorflight.org).  That’s when Brian learned that Richard carried a small Bible, given to him by his parents when he entered the Navy at age ~17.

Richard also was a talented poet and musician. He played cornet, trombone, baritone, and drums in Salvation Army bands. For 35 years, his father had been a chaplain for the Salvation Army men’s service department for alcoholics, helping men rebuild their lives. Richard met Lillian at a Salvation Army camp, and they were married 62 years. Richard often volunteered for the Salvation Army’s Emergency Canteens. And he loved to attend Salvation Army band concerts (see my blog post of 3 June 2012).

He had many more laudable qualities and accomplishments than I have mentioned here—he was special, a man of deep Christian faith and practice, a servant of others. It is blessing to me to sound “Taps” for such men.

Please click on either photo to enlarge it.

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“Echo Taps” for Medal of Honor Ceremony

Posted by glennled on July 19, 2011

Navy MoH, 1861; awarded to Navy, Marines & Coast Guard

Of the millions of men and women who have served in the United States military, including me,

Army MoH, 1862

only3,457 have received the Medal of Honor. Six are buried at Evergreen Washelli Memorial Park on Hwy 99 in north Seattle.

These men, plus a Silver Star recipient, were honored on 16 July at a special ceremony, as reported in my blog post below (2 July). The ceremony featured the unveiling of seven large, permanent, granite markers, engraved with their individual stories of heroism. In August, these are to be placed at the respective graves, so that visitors may read them on site.

Here are some interesting facts about the Medal of Honor, extracted from the website of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society (see http://www.cmohs.org/). The first medal was awarded in 1863, during the Civil War. During that war, in which there were about 625,000 deaths, 1,522 Medals of Honor were awarded. During the Korean War, 136 medals were awarded, and 248 were presented during the Vietnam War. Others: WWI (119); WWII (466); Iraq (4); and Afghanistan (5).

At last Saturday’s event, at least two local TV stations had cameras present and carried stories on the evening news. Please watch the video

Air Force created as separate military branch, 1947; distinct design of AF MoH authorized, 1956; AF design adopted, 1965

(1:48) from KOMO-TV for the excellent report, “Heroes honored: ‘They did things I can’t even imagine doing’.” See www.komonews.com/news/local/125696063.html. The editing and presentation are outstanding. Included among the scenes is one brief clip of me playing “Taps” shortly before the Retiring of the Colors.

As the audience of about 100 family and friends, many with raincoats, hats and umbrellas on this cool morning, slowly arrived, the Washington Letter Carriers’ Band played a 30-minute opening concert. Reportedly, this band is the oldest of its kind in the state, founded in the late 19th century.

Seattle’s soft rain fell upon us in the beginning and quit about mid-way through the ceremony. As the keynote speaker, MG James M. Collins, Jr., U.S. Army (Ret.), summarized each man’s story, he asked the family and friends of each hero to stand for recognition and honor. Scott Sheehan, General Manager of Evergreen Washelli, said that as a result of this event, another person who is

Glenn (right) sounds "Echo Taps" near firing squad - Photo by Janelle Squires

buried there has been identified as a recipient of the Silver Star and will also be honored with a marker.

Then a firing squad of seven fired three volleys. At the command, “Present Arms,”  I commenced sounding “Echo Taps” while standing nearby. Roy Pollock, lead trumpeter of the WLC Band and my fellow member in the Husky Alumni Band, played the echo from near a large tree across the open field. 

Families lay flowers on markers of the seven valiant men - Photo by Evergreen Washelli

Super Olds cornet (1954) - Photo by Janelle Squires

 

Roy Pollock waits (beneath tree) to sound echo in "Echo Taps" - Photo by Janelle Squires

 

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