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Posts Tagged ‘Taps’

“Taps” at Annual Skyline Memorial Walk in Seattle

Posted by glennled on November 19, 2017

IMG_5975What’s it like, when Veterans Day rolls around each November and Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day are fast approaching, to live in a retirement community? If you’ve lost a spouse or child or family or friends or pets, it might be quite lonely. Why not remember, honor, and celebrate those who have passed? That’s the idea behind the 3rd Annual Memorial Walk at Skyline at First Hill, a Presbyterian retirement community in downtown Seattle near St. James Cathedral and Harborview Hospital.

The Memorial Walk is in a lovely courtyard between the facility’s two wings: Skyline Towers (for independent living) and Skyline Terraces (for assisted living). Adjacent is a IMG_5972room where the ceremony was conducted on 8 November. In the weeks prior, residents were asked to submit the names of people they want to be remembered. This year, some 200 names were reverently read aloud to the attendees. Afterwards, people wandered through the courtyard, remembering again.

For more information and photos, please see my post of 10 November 2016. Simply click on that month in the left column of this blog. For the second year in a row, I was honored to sound “Taps” on my Getzen bugle at the close of the ceremony.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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Veteran (76) Takes Lessons to Sound “Taps” on His Bugle

Posted by glennled on November 17, 2017

Sounding “Taps” sounds simple, doesn’t it? But it’s not. Just ask my 37th student who started with his first private lesson from me on 6 October 2017. He’s the captain of the Color Guard of VFW Post 3063 in Ballard in Seattle, and he wants to play “Taps” at various military memorials, ceremonies and funerals.

The B-flat bugle (without valves) can sound only harmonics, and “Taps” is comprised only four—G, C, and E on the staff and G above the staff. Moreover, there are only 24 notes in “Taps.” He signed up for five one-hour lessons. You might guess that that would be enough. Maybe so, if you’d played a brass instrument well in your youth. But if you didn’t, and you’re 76 years old? It’s not easy, my friend. Bugler[1] clip art

There are only a few beginning trumpet students in fifth grade who can hit that high G after 9 months of taking band classes at school. But of course, at that young age, band students don’t practice much at home, and their muscles are not yet fully developed.

So, since my man is determined to succeed and his wife is supportive, he can do it—if he is patient and practices regularly. First, he must gain control of the bugle. He must train his embouchure to hit, with consistent accuracy, the “sweet spots” in the slots for each of the four notes. He must learn to properly tongue those notes. Then, we’ll improve his tone and phrasing. He’ll learn how to breathe diaphragmatically and play with an open throat. When he sounds good in private at home, we’ll help him learn how to control his emotions when performing in public. He is my 37th private student and my first bugle-only student. Someday, he’ll master it.

Fortunately, he owns an outstanding bugle. That helps a lot. It’s the same one that I use–the Getzen Field Trumpet Model M2003E with B-flat and G tuning slides. I’ve mentioned it in numerous blog articles, and I featured it with photos at https://glennstrumpetnotes.com/2015/05/04/my-new-getzen-bugle-2-17-15/. You’ll find this model on the manufacturer’s website, http://www.getzen.com.

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Fourth Annual Memorial Day Ceremony at Edmonds Community College

Posted by glennled on June 28, 2017

 

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Kyle Gaul, piper, leads the procession across the Edmonds Community College campus.

On 24 May at Edmonds Community College (ECC), veterans, their relatives and friends, and college officials and students gathered at the Black Box Theatre on campus for the 4th Annual Memorial Day Ceremony. The event is sponsored by the Veterans Resource Center at ECC, headed by Chris Szarek, Director, USN (Ret).

The Guest of Honor and featured speaker was Shannon Sessions, Air Force Veteran and Lynnwood City Council member. After this portion of the indoor ceremony, the group processed to the nearby Boots-to-Books-and-Beyond Monument for the public wreath-laying ceremony.

I had the privilege to sound two bugle calls, “To the Color” and “Taps,” on my Getzen Field Trumpet. Other performing musicians were Native American flautist, Peter Ali, and bagpiper, Kyle Gaul.

For more information about the Memorial Day ceremonies at ECC, please see my blog posts of:

All photos are by Nathan MacDonald, courtesy of the Veterans Resource Center. On the left, Buck Weaver (90+), WWII Veteran, leads the audience in singing, “God Bless America.” On the right is the Color Guard, VFW Post 1040, near the Boots-to-Books-and-Beyond Monument. Please click on either photo to enlarge it.

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150th-151st “Taps” on a Saturday at Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery in Seattle

Posted by glennled on December 31, 2016

So, who’s counting? Buglers, that’s who. And yes, I am aware that some have sounded “Taps” thousands of times and that I evergreen-washelli-seattle-wa-0021-copynever will reach those numbers. For one thing, I don’t live near a national cemetery, and for another, it’s my age. But on Saturday, 17 December, I passed another of my own, personal, little milestones.

In freezing weather, at the Wreaths Across America ceremony at Veterans Cemetery at Evergreen-Washelli (E-W) in north Seattle at about 9:30 a.m., I sounded “Taps” for the 150th time while serving as bugler with the VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard during the past five years. Then at noon, I did it again at the North Evergreen Court Mausoleum (also at E-W) for the entombment of Lois Kathryn Grasmick, the wife of an Army veteran.

In honor of those who have served, I had my new Getzen bugle engraved with this inscription: John 15:13.

Photos below by Tonya Christoffersen, courtesy of Navy Wives Club of America, Totem 277. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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“Taps” at 7th Annual Wreaths Across America Ceremony at Evergreen-Washelli, Seattle

Posted by glennled on December 30, 2016

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Wreaths Across America, Veterans Cemetery, Evergreen-Washelli, Seattle, 12-17-2016

When the 7th Annual Wreaths Across America (WAA) ceremony commenced on Saturday, 17 December 2016, at Veterans Cemetery, Evergreen-Washelli, in north Seattle, the temperature was 27 degrees (F). Members of the VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard teased me (with a little too much glee) that the mouthpiece of my Getzen bugle would freeze to my lips when I sounded “Taps.” But I’m an old dog. That was Nev-va Gonna Hop-pen!

The local ceremony is hosted by the Navy Wives Club of America (NWCA), Totem 277 (Seattle to Burlington), and Lorraine Zimmerman again was the emcee. The ceremony is now held annually on the 3rd Saturday in December.

The guest speaker was Michael Schindler, Navy veteran and CEO of Operation Military Family Cares, a non-profit organization based in Edmonds, where he and his family live (see http://www.OMFCares.org). He spoke about each of the three elements of WAA’s mission:

  • REMEMBER our fallen U.S. veterans
  • HONOR those who serve
  • TEACH our children the value of freedom

Afterwards, I told him that his speech was worthy of being delivered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Here are a few excerpts.

“Fewer than 7% of Americans living today have worn the uniform—and less than 1% today are on the frontlines actively standing guard over our freedom. So it is our duty as parents, teachers, as leaders to help our youth understand the need for sacrifice…Imagine for a moment if we taught and required our youth to SERVE first…that “giving up” of time [to serve and honor] becomes an investment in others. And ultimately an investment in themselves. That is value [added to a person’s life]…Today it is our obligation to teach our children that freedom requires sacrifice…If you choose to wear the uniform, you will become one of American’s Greatest Assets—and your investment of time, sweat, tears, will result in a reward that is priceless—freedom.”

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Color Guard marches past Honor Guard

For more information about WAA, please see my past blog posts regarding this annual ceremony. Simply use the Archives in the left column of this blog or search for “Wreath” in the search box in the upper right column to find my posts of:

  • 5 February 2016
  • 28 April 2015
  • 9 January 2013
  • 16 December 2011

Photos are by Tonya Christoffersen, courtesy of NWCA, Totem 277. Please click on any photo below to enlarge it.

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“Taps” for Skyline’s Annual Memorial Walk in Seattle, Honoring Veterans

Posted by glennled on November 10, 2016

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Skyline at First Hill is a Presbyterian retirement community in downtown Seattle near St. James Cathedral and Harborview Hospital. Between its two wings, one for independent living (Skyline Towers) and the other for assisted living (Skyline Terraces), is a courtyard. That’s where I stood in the rain on 2 November to sound “Taps” on my Getzen bugle after the responsive reading of “We Remember Them” by Sylvan Kamens and Rabbi Jack Riemer, which is found in the Jewish Prayer Book (please see http://hmd.org.uk/resources/poetry/we-remember-them-sylvan-kamens-rabbi-jack-riemer). Then “Taps” closed the second annual “Skyline Memorial Walk” ceremony hosted by Skyline’s chaplain, The Reverend Elizabeth Graham.

img_4393Earlier, the residents and staff of Skyline had been invited to submit the names of veterans and others whom they wished to be remembered in advance of Veterans Day, 11 November. Their names—about 200—were read aloud, interspersed with periodic bell ringing, before the audience. Twenty, mostly elderly people gathered in the Madrona Community Room: two men, 18 women, silent in their memories of their dear veterans of WWI, WWII, and every conflict since, and others.

The names were then written on individual placards staked into the fertile soil in the planters in the courtyard, where they remained for a week so that the residents, staff and guests could walk among them. img_4419

Isn’t it amazing? In place after place across the nation, around the world, year after year, our veterans are honored. The lowest, the highest, it matters not. To paraphrase a famous saying, when you put on the military uniform, whether on active duty, retired, or national guard or reserve, you write a blank check at that point in your life, made payable to “The United States of America,” for an amount of “up to and including your life.” Engraved on my bugle is a citation of the Biblical verse, John 15:13. We honor such men and women.

Rev. Graham found me through my membership in Bugles Across America (please see http://www.buglesacrossamerica.org/ and my post of 4 May 2015). I’m glad she did. I’m glad I played cornet through high school and college. I’m glad I teach private trumpet lessons. I’m glad I teach beginning brass at Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell. I’m glad I play trumpet in the Husky Alumni Band. I’m glad I play in the Alderwood Community Church Orchestra in Lynnwood. I’m glad I’m the VFW Post 1040 Bugler. All these things enable me to sound “Taps” for veterans every chance I get—it’s my honor, and I’m grateful. Lucky me.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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My Youngest “Echo Taps” Partner on Memorial Day

Posted by glennled on July 22, 2016

 

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“Echo Taps” partners, Memorial Day, 2016. Photo by Gary Walderman.

He’s only a seventh grader, going into eighth this fall, but he plays the trumpet with confidence and accuracy. So I asked him to play “Echo Taps” with me at the Memorial Day ceremony on 30 May at Veterans Park in Lynnwood. Other students of mine have played the “echo” part with me there, but they were all older and in high school. Also, those other students had all taken private trumpet lessons with me. This trumpeter, however, was my student when he was in the beginning bands at Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell. He’s doing well in the 7th grade band and jazz band at SJHS now.

Echo Taps, BGL, 5-30-16

“Echo Taps,” Glenn Ledbetter, VFW Post 1040 Bugler. Photo by Janelle Squires.

The weather this year was the best ever in my five years as VFW Post 1040 Bugler. On Memorial Day, I get to sound three bugle calls: “Assembly” (to open the ceremony), “Echo Taps” (to conclude the ceremony), and “To the Color” (when the flag is hoisted from half- to full-mast at noon). Attendance at this half-hour ceremony and the one on Veterans Day (11 November) is growing.

My Getzen bugle has two tuning slides. I use the G slide for “Tattoo,” “Taps,” and “Funeral March,” and the Bb slide for all other bugle calls. Love that horn!

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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2016 Memorial Day Message: “Be an American Worth Dying For”

Posted by glennled on July 20, 2016

Memorial Day is the annual holiday when America honors its war dead. Raelynn Ricarte came to Edmonds, WA from Hood River, OR in the Columbia River Gorge area to deliver the keynote message of this year’s Memorial Day ceremony on 25 May at Edmonds Community College—“Be an American Worth Dying For.” Her son, U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Jesse Atay, deployed five times in both Iraq and Afghanistan during nearly 13 years in military service, first as a platoon leader and then as the lead on a combat assault team. The horror of September 11, 2001, sent Atay to war.

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Raelyn Ricarte, The Gorge Heroes Club and author, “Living the Oath: Warriors Take It, Families Endure It”

Ricarte has earned the right to deliver that message. She vowed to take care of her son’s “dudes” through action, not just lip service. She started sending care packages to troops in the Middle East, using small amounts of donated funds. That eventually grew so much that she founded The Gorge Heroes Club, a non-profit pro-troop group that now sends the troops thousands of care packages.  Please see http://gorgeheroesclub.blogspot.com/.

When you hear or read her stories about the agonies of loss and trials of grief which the families of America’s war dead go through, you understand how she can say to all our citizens, “Be an American Worth Dying For.”

To me and others I know, it was the best Memorial Day ceremony held at Edmonds Community College so far. Everyone on the program spoke from the heart and told their own personal stories. You got their messages. And after the wreath-laying ceremony outside on campus and after Kyle Gaul, Northwest Junior Pipe Band, played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes, I had the privilege of sounding “Taps” one more time on my golden bugle, fading into silence at the end, concluding the program.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it. Outdoor photos courtesy of Veterans Resource Center, ECC.

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2015 Wreaths Across America–“Never Forget”

Posted by glennled on February 5, 2016

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“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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My Trumpet Student “Saves My Bacon” at Veterans Day Ceremony

Posted by glennled on November 26, 2015

Sarah Dunsmore, Trumpeter, sounds "Taps"

Sarah Dunsmore, Trumpeter, sounds “Taps,” Veterans Day, 2015

The program for the Veterans Day Ceremony announced that as Post Bugler for VFW Post 1040, I would play “Assembly” to open the 30-minute ceremony at Veterans Park in Lynnwood on 11 November. Then at the conclusion of the event, my trumpet student and I would perform “Echo Taps.” But at the last moment, I could not play.

So the young lady, a senior at Juanita High School in Kirkland who has taken trumpet lessons from me for the past six years, had to solo. And that she did. Today, as I post this article, is Thanksgiving Day. I am thankful to Sarah Dunsmore—she “saved my bacon.”

Meanwhile, others on the program performed as planned. That included the following:

  • Northwest Jr. Pipe Band
  • Legion of Honor, Nile Shrine Center
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1040 Honor Guard
  • Martin Spani, VFW Post 1040 Past Commander
  • Nicola Smith, Mayor, Lynnwood
  • Manuel Ventosa, US Army WWII Veteran
  • Jim Smith, Former Lynnwood City Councilmember
  • John Beam, Pat McGrady, Bob Jeske, Ray Colby, Max Bettman, Veterans
  • Myra Rintakmaki, Gold Star Mothers
  • VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard
  • Boy Scouts of America, Lynnwood Troup 49
  • Cub Scouts of America, Pack 331

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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