Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

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Posts Tagged ‘VFW’

Glenn, the Edmonds Trumpet Busker!

Posted by glennled on July 7, 2017

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Glenn Ledbetter, busking at Veterans Plaza in Edmonds. All donations ($128, so far) go to VFW.

I finally did it—public busking with my Getzen trumpet. It’s an idea that’s been germinating within me for a long time, especially since my wife and I enjoyed listening to a grisly, picturesque old accordion player on the bridge crossing the River Wear in Durham, England in August, 2014, and to a dandy Scottish bagpiper blasting his stirring tunes at the corner of Government and Belleville streets in downtown Victoria, B.C., Canada, on the many occasions we have visited there.  “That’s fun,” I thought. “I can do that.”

So, on three recent Saturdays in June and July, as Nike would advise, I just did it. I donned by veterans cap, American-flag T-shirt, and sat myself down in Veterans Plaza in downtown Edmonds, adjacent to the Saturday Market on 5th Ave. N. and Bell St. As people came and went, walking, sitting, eating, talking, listening, I played for two hours from my busking book of about 125 pieces of music, mostly taken from musicals and movies, plus some patriotic songs and marches.

In my open trumpet case, I placed the sign, “Your Donations Go to VFW.” One Saturday, people donated $48, another $35, and another $45. I sent the $128 to VFW Post 1040 (Lynnwood), where I am the Post Bugler, and VFW Post 8870 (Edmonds), which built the new, outstanding Veterans Plaza. The plaza was dedicated on Memorial Day, 29 May 2017.

Busking is indeed fun. People come up and say the nicest things. Toddlers dance. It’s true—music is the universal language of mankind. Just do it, and you’ll see.

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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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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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Another Little Milestone–100 “Taps”

Posted by glennled on June 4, 2014

VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard, Acacia Cemetery, Seattle

VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard, Acacia Cemetery, Seattle

On 15 April, our federal income taxes came due. Yes, I made the deadline that afternoon, but only in the morning after I’d played “Taps” for the 100th time. Yes, I realize other buglers have sounded this call literally thousands of times, but I’m very glad to have done my little part for our veterans as bugler for VFW Post 1040 of Lynnwood.

On this occasion, the Post’s Honor Guard performed the flag ceremony with the Washington Army National Guard at Acacia Cemetery in Lake City as part of WAARNG’s Veterans Memorial Tribute Program (for more information on VMTP, please see my post of 5 January 2012). Jointly, we do this ceremony at Acacia, Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery in Seattle, and Edmonds Cemetery every month.

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“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” on Veterans Day 2012—the 150th Anniversary Year of its Composition

Posted by glennled on November 19, 2012

Taps, original painting by Sidney E. King on display at Berkeley Plantation

In 1862, when Daniel Adams Butterfield composed “Taps” during the Civil War, there was no Veterans Day. A New Yorker, he was then a Brigadier General and later a Major General in the Union Army. Fifty-six years later in 1918, this national holiday was established (first as Armistice Day) after the end of World War I. Its name was changed to Veterans Day after World War II and is now celebrated annually on 11 November in honor of all American veterans. This year is the 150th anniversary year of “Taps,” the most famous of all American bugle calls. Thus, it came to pass that Richard Haydis and I sounded “Echo Taps” to close the memorial ceremony at Veterans Park in Lynnwood on a rainy Sunday, 11 November 2012.

Haydis is a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, and I am a U.S. Navy veteran of the Vietnam era. VFW Post 1040 (see http://vfw1040.org/) hosted the ceremony, where the featured speaker was Michael G. Reagan, U.S. Marine Corps veteran, internationally renown artist and leader of the Fallen Heroes Project (see my post of 19 November 2011, and www.fallenheroesproject.org). The ceremony featured the NW Junior Pipe Band (see www.mwjbp.org) and

Michael G. Reagan, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, Fallen Heroes Project

Ray Colby, VFW Post 1040 Piper and a U.S. Navy veteran. Cub Scout Pack 331 placed flags in the park and distributed the ceremony programs.During 2012, buglers throughout the nation participated in numerous ceremonies to commemorate the 150th anniversary of “Taps.” The prime event occurred on 22-24 June at Harrison Landing on the grounds of Berkeley Plantation along the James River, southeast of Richmond, Virginia (see www.taps150.org). This was the birthplace of America’s Song of Remembrance.

In late June, 1862, after the Seven Days Battles, the Army of the Potomac recuperated at Harrison Landing. Butterfield himself had been wounded.  It is said of Oliver Willcox Norton, bugler of Butterfield’s Brigade, that Butterfield called him to his tent to work on a new bugle call until, as Butterfield put it, he got it smooth, melodious, and musical, suited his ear and taste. Norton was the first to sound “Taps” as we now know it in early July.  Later, in 1898, Norton wrote a letter recalling the incident:

Taps, Butterfield and Norton

“…One day, soon after the seven days battles on the Peninsular, when the Army of the Potomac was lying in camp at Harrison’s Landing, General Daniel Butterfield, then commanding our Brigade, sent for me, and showing me some notes on a staff written in pencil on the back of an envelope, asked me to sound them on my bugle. I did this several times, playing the music as written. He changed it somewhat, lengthening some notes and shortening others, but retaining the melody as he first gave it to me. After getting it to his satisfaction, he directed me to sound that call for Taps thereafter in place of the regulation call. The music was beautiful on that still summer night, and was heard far beyond the limits of our Brigade. The next day I was visited by several buglers from neighboring Brigades, asking for copies of the music which I gladly furnished. I think no general order was issued from army headquarters authorizing the substitution of this for the regulation call, but as each brigade commander exercised his own discretion in such minor matters, the call was gradually taken up through the Army of the Potomac. I have been told that it was carried to the Western Armies by the 11th and 12th Corps, when they went to Chattanooga in the fall of 1863, and rapidly made its way through those armies. I did not presume to question General Butterfield at the time, but from the manner in which the call was given to me, I have no doubt he composed it in his tent at Harrison s Landing…

For a detailed account of the composition of “Taps”, please see “24 Notes That Tap Deep Emotions,” by Jari A. Villanueva, at www.west-point.org/taps/Taps.html.

Taps Monument prior to 2012 renovation, Berkeley Plantation

The Virginia Department of the American Legion erected a monument dedicated to “Taps” on a knoll where General Butterfield’s tent stood in July 1862. This is the only such monument in the country. There is a bronze statue of Butterfield in Sakura Park on Claremont Avenue in Manhattan, not far from Grant’s Tomb. And Butterfield is buried at West Point, although he attended Union College (Class of 1849) in Schenectady, not the U.S. Military Academy (see www.union.edu/news/stories/2012/05/sounding-a-solemn-note-taps-turns-150.php).

Incidentally, the call is named “Taps” because at the end of the call, a drummer would play three distinct drum taps at four-count intervals. And as popular and beautiful as it is, “Echo Taps” is not an official bugle call of the U.S. military. Officially, “Taps” is to be sounded by a single bugle.

Photos of the 2012 Lynnwood ceremony are by Andy Dingman. Please click on any image to enlarge it.

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“Taps” and “To the Color” at Memorial Day Ceremony at Veterans Park, Lynnwood

Posted by glennled on June 2, 2012

“Taps” by Glenn Ledbetter, VFW Post 1040 Bugler. (by Nancy MacDonald)

Clearly, someone carefully chose the rhododendron species at Veterans Park in Lynnwood where the Memorial Day ceremony was held on Monday, 28 May—the dark pink flowers were still in full bloom as two wreaths were laid in honor of those American military men and women who died during our wars.

Martin Spani, Commander of Post 1040 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Lynnwood, emceed the ceremony which featured the Northwest Junior Pipe Band, singer Garret Lloyd King, and guest speaker, Lt. Col. Joseph S. Jimenez, U.S. Army (Ret.). The memorial wreaths were laid by Richard Larson, USN, WWII, of Lynnwood American Legion Post 37, and Art Clemente, USMC, WWII, Lynnwood VFW Post 1040. Boy Scouts of America, Lynnwood Troup 49, assisted by placing the flags in the park and distributing the programs. A crowd of almost 225 attended under an overcast sky.

Ray Colby, VFW Post 1040 Piper, plays “God Bless America.” (by Chaplain Mary Sjoberg)

The pipe band played “Green Hills,” “Battles Ore,” and “Amazing Grace.” Ray Colby, a Navy World War II veteran and the VFW Post 1040 piper, played “God Bless America.” After the rifle salute by the VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard, the post bugler (me) sounded “Taps.” Throughout the ceremony, the American flag flew at half-mast. At twelve noon, I played the bugle call, “To the Color,” as the flag was hoisted to full-mast by the post’s Color Guard.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it. Photographers’ names appear in parentheses after the captions of the respective photos. Incidentally, Chaplain Mary Sjoberg is a member of the U.S. Corps of Chaplains (USCOC)—see https://sites.google.com/site/unitedstatescorpsofchaplains/Home

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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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New Post Bugler Appointed on Pearl Harbor Day by VFW Post 1040, Lynnwood

Posted by glennled on December 12, 2011

Glenn Ledbetter, 10 Dec. 2011

On 7 December, the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day (1941), Martin Spani, Commander, VFW Post 1040 of Lynnwood, appointed me the new post bugler. It’s not national news, but quietly, it’s a big deal to me. I’m a Vietnam veteran who served on three ships in the Pacific Fleet during 1963-1967: USS Los Angeles (CA-135), a heavy cruiser homeported in Long Beach, CA; USS Walton (DE-361), a destroyer escort homeported in San Francisco; and USS Koiner (DER-331), a radar picket escort vessel homeported in Agana, Guam.

World War II was formative for me, even though I was a small boy not yet in school. And more important to me than Pearl Harbor Day are V-E Day (8 May 1945) and V-J Day (14 August 1945), when I was five years old…I remember the relief and exhilaration of those days.

When I was at Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Newport, Rhode Island in late 1962, I played in the drum and bugle corps. After I graduated from OCS, my first orders as an Ensign were to report for duty aboard the Los Angeles, then in Japan. Enroute from San Francisco, I stayed over in Hawaii and went to Waikiki. Now, whenever I go on vacation to Honolulu, I always visit the “Punchbowl,” the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. I love to listen to the birds in the trees as I walk in the sunlight among the graves, read the markers, survey the wide, green burial field, and thank God and those of that great generation—my mother’s and father’s generation. They stand very tall in world history. At the Punchbowl, the soft, peaceful truth stares and sings right back at you: freedom is not free.

My ship bombarded the coast once, but I never shot to kill in Vietnam, and neither I nor my ship was ever fired upon. Our naval duty was to patrol the coast of South Vietnam to prevent and stop the movement of supplies from North Vietnam, China, or wherever which might support the Viet Cong. We patroled in the combat zone, but it really was a land war. With a crew, I boarded junks in coastal waters, searching for contraband. Anything could have happened.

I’m a lucky man. Not so for many others in American history. Have you heard “American Anthem,” by composer Gene Scheer, as sung by Nora Jones on the sound track of the Ken Burns film, The War? That tells you why it’s a big deal to be a VFW post bugler in a little town far off in the northwest corner of America. Please listen to it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdjnAFqapg4:

“Let them say of me, I was one who believed in sharing the blessings that I received. Let me know in my heart, when my days are through, America, America, I gave my best to you.”

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