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Posts Tagged ‘Veterans Memorial Cemetery’

5th Annual Wreath Dedication at Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery, Seattle

Posted by glennled on April 28, 2015

Lianna Bennett sits at the headstone of her grandfather U.S. Army Col. William W. Etchemendy during Wreaths Across America's 150th anniversary, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

Lianna Bennett sits at the headstone of her grandfather, U.S. Army Col. William W. Etchemendy, during Wreaths Across America’s ceremony, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

Every December, every year, the crowds keep getting bigger as the Wreaths Across America ceremony spreads and becomes more well-known. Here in Seattle, it was celebrated for the fifth time on 13 December 2014, at the Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery at Evergreen-Washelli. The prime sponsor of the local event is Navy Wives Clubs of America #277, led by Lorraine Zimmerman.

The 1st Corps Command Honor Guard performed Color Guard duties. For the fifth year in a row, the Honor Guard of VFW Post 1040 in Lynnwood furnished the rifle team and bugler for the rifle salute and bugle calls, “Assembly” and “Taps,” and as you know, I’m 1040’s Post Bugler. I’ve posted two other articles in this blog about this annual event (see my posts of 12/16/2011 and 1/9/2013).

This ceremony has its roots in the patriotic experience of the owner of the Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine, in 1992, when he and others took some surplus wreaths to be laid at selected tombstones, including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. At the third website in the list below, you can read the history of how this ceremony has spread nationwide since 2007, when the non-profit organization, Wreaths Across America (WAA), was formed.

In 2010, WAA and its national network of volunteers laid more than 220,000 memorial wreaths at 545 locations in the USA and beyond. One year later, Navy Wives Club #277 joined that group of volunteers in bringing the ceremony to Evergreen-Washelli and Seattle.

For additional information, please go to the following websites:

 

 

 

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“Taps” for Wreaths Across America Memorial Service at Evergreen-Washelli in Seattle

Posted by glennled on January 9, 2013

Courtesy of Wreaths Across America (WAA)

Courtesy of Wreaths Across America (WAA)

Last month on 15 December 2012, Wreaths Across America (WAA) sponsored and coordinated the placement of 420,000 remembrance wreaths by almost 200,000 volunteers on the headstones of our nation’s fallen military in 825 locations in America and abroad. At Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, more than 20,000 volunteers laid 110,662 wreaths. This was the 21st annual wreath-laying event.

Courtesy of WAA

Courtesy of WAA

In 1992 in Harrington, Maine, as the Christmas holiday season drew to a close, the Worcester Wreath Company found itself with a surplus of fresh, evergreen wreaths. The owner, Morrill Worcester, made arrangements to have the wreaths placed in one of Arlington cemetery’s older sections where fewer visitors were coming each year. A local trucking company transported the wreaths to Virginia, and American Legion, VFW, and other volunteers decorated each wreath with the traditional, hand-tied red bows and laid them on the headstones. There was also a special ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard, WAA ceremony, Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Evergreen-Washelli, Seattle, 12-15-’12. Photo by Nathan W. Bradshaw, PA3, USCG.

VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard, WAA ceremony, Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Evergreen-Washelli, Seattle, 12-15-’12. Photo by Nathan W. Bradshaw, PA3, USCG.

That started the annual pilgrimage to and event at Arlington National Cemetery which continues today. Others across the nation wanted to participate in their own national, state, and local cemeteries, and so in 2007, WAA was created. The mission of this non-profit organization, now based in Columbia Falls, Maine, is to “Remember, Honor, Teach.”

Lt, U.S. Coast Guard. Photo by Nathan Bradshaw, PA3, USCG

In the state of Washington, 18 cemeteries are affiliated with WAA. The four largest are the Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent (23,000+ graves; 15,500 veteran graves and 13,000  veteran columbarium niches); Evergreen-Washelli-Veterans Memorial Cemetery in north Seattle (5,000+ veteran graves); Mountain View Cemetery in Walla Walla (37,000 graves; 2,500 veteran graves); and Washington State Veterans Cemetery in Medical Lake (550 veteran graves).

At Veterans Memorial Cemetery at Washelli, this was the 3rd annual wreath laying ceremony sponsored by the Navy Wives Club #277. King5-TV again covered the event in a superb report. Please see http://www.king5.com/video/yahoo-video/200-wreaths-cemetery-183725091.html. You’ll see the VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard fire three perfect rifle volleys, hear the post piper play some of “Amazing Grace,” and hear me play “Taps” in the background as the reporter tells the story. For a description of the previous year’s event, please see my post of 16 December 2011.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it. Here are links to the websites of other organizations mentioned in this post:

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“Echo Taps” for War of 1812 Bicentennial Ceremony at Evergreen-Washelli in Seattle

Posted by glennled on July 2, 2012

War of 1812 Monument (front side), Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Evergreen-Washelli, Seattle

For six years, the Washington State Society, United States Daughters of 1812 (WSSUSD 1812), labored hard on its project to dedicate a monument honoring those veterans of the War of 1812 who died in Washington Territory. At last, the ceremony was held on Saturday, 23 June, at Evergreen-Washelli, Veterans Memorial Cemetery, in north Seattle. The war had started on 18 June, 200 years earlier, when President James Madison signed the declaration passed by Congress.

The beautiful monument at the foot of the Bell Tower was unveiled by WSSUSD 1812 President Linda Rae Lind of Bremerton. Inscribed on both sides are the names of 16 veterans for whom there are authentic records verifying that they served in the War of 1812 and died in Washington Territory. (Washington became the 42nd state in 1889.)

War of 1812 Monument (back side), Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Evergreen-Washelli, Seattle

Of the 16, Abel Ostrander was born first (1777) and William M. Stewart died last (1885), a span of 108 years. Ostrander came from New York and died in Cowlitz County in 1859. Stewart (born in 1794) came from Ohio and died in Pierce County.

Washington State Archivist, Jerry Handfield, was the guest speaker on this day. To conclude the outdoor ceremony, two members of the Washington State Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (WASSAR) fired their muskets in a rifle salute, immediately followed by the sounding of “Echo Taps” by me and Lt. Col. Bob O’Neal, U.S. Army (Ret.) who is WASSAR Color Guard Commander. I play a 1954 Super Olds cornet, and Bob plays a 1927 King Silvertone trumpet. Incidentally, 2012 is also the 150th anniversary of the composition of “Taps.”

The War of 1812, fought against the British in the U.S.A., Canada, and in the Great Lakes and on the high seas, is sometimes called the Second War of Independence. It is famous for many things still well-known in American culture. Let me list a few: first, the text of our national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner,” was written by Francis Scott Key during the defense of Ft. McHenry near Baltimore, MD, from British naval bombardment in September, 1814. Second, “Old Ironsides,” the USS Constitution, was never defeated in battle. Named by George Washington, she is the oldest commissioned naval vessel afloat and is berthed in Boston. Third, in the midst of the bloody battle between two frigates, USS Chesapeake and HMS Shannon, Master Commandant James Lawrence, captain of the Chesapeake, mortally wounded, issued his famous, final command to his men, “Don’t give up the ship!”  Fourth, after a naval battle on Lake Erie in September, 1813, Commodore Oliver Hazard

“Echo Taps” for War of 1812 Vets who died in Washington, sounded by Glenn Ledbetter, VFW Post 1040 Bugler, and Col. Bob O’Neal, SAR (not shown)

Gale Palmer and Stan Wills, SAR, fire musket salute

Perry, U.S. Navy, penned the famous words, “We have met the enemy and they are ours…” Fifth, the British burned the White House and the city of Washington in August, 1814. Sixth, in January, 1815, as the war drew to a close, Major General Andrew Jackson (“Old Hickory”) defeated the British Lieutenant General Sir Edward Pakenham in a lop-sided victory at the Battle of New Orleans. Seventh, Robert Fulton invented the “torpedo,” now known as an underwater mine, and designed the world’s first steam-powered warship, Demologos (later renamed Fulton).

The on-site photos in this post are courtesy of the Washington State Society, United States Daughters of 1812. Please click on any image to enlarge it. For further information on the War of 1812 and the organizations mentioned in this post, please see the following:

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“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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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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