Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

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Posts Tagged ‘Silver Star’

“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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“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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Playing “Taps” for Medal of Honor Recipients at Evergreen Washelli Memorial Park in Seattle on 16 July

Posted by glennled on July 2, 2011

Photo by Thad Westhusing, http://www.thadsworld.net

Until this year, I did not realize that Evergreen Washelli Memorial Park is the final resting place for one Silver Star and six Medal of Honor recipients. The Silver Star recipient and two of the Medal of Honor recipients fought in Vietnam. Another two Medal of Honor recipents fought in World War II, and the other two fought in the Spanish/American War. These wars span 77 years, from 1898 to 1975.

I am so lucky. Just before the conclusion of a special ceremony for the public on Saturday, 16 July, I get to play “Taps” to honor these very special men. It is said that playing “Taps” is the most sacred duty of a bugler. I feel it. The last time I felt it, I was in high school when I played “Taps” at a ceremony in my home town, Sinton, Texas, on either Memorial Day or Veterans Day. I want to feel it again.

The ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. with a half-hour concert by the Washington Letter Carriers Band. Next comes the Parade of Colors at 11 a.m., followed by The National Anthem, Pledge of Allegiance, and Invocation. The speaker is Major General James (“Jimmy’) M. Collins, Jr., U.S. Army (Ret.). The program concludes with a salute from members of the Washington Army National Guard, followed by “Echo Taps,” the Benediction, and the Retiring of the Colors at about noon.

To pay tribute to these fallen heroes and to thank them and their families for their selfless and courageous service to our country, Evergreen Washelli is creating a permanent marker which will tell each medal recipient’s heroic story. You are invited to attend the ceremony, witness the unveiling of their permanent memorials, visit their graves, read their stories, and see images of the medals received. Their names: Albanese, Horton, Leisy, Nakamura, Bloch, Fadden and Alakulppi.

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