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Posts Tagged ‘Wreaths Across America’

8th Annual “Wreaths Across America” Ceremony at Evergreen-Washelli in Seattle

Posted by glennled on December 29, 2017

Air Force Master Sgt. Shanda De Anda salutes the wreath on which she just placed a flag (2)

Air Force Master Sgt. Shanda De Anda salutes the USAF wreath. Photo by Alan Berner, The Seattle Times.

On Saturday, 16 December 2017, a crowd gathered at Veterans Cemetery at Evergreen-Washelli in north Seattle to participate in the Wreaths Across America (WAA) ceremony, along with 1,422 other participating locations nationwide. The ceremony is held annually on the 3rd Saturday in December.

Locally, it was the 8th annual WAA event, hosted by the Navy Wives Club of America (NWCA), Totem 277 (Seattle to Burlington), with Lorraine Zimmerman the emcee.
The guest speaker was Col. Anthony D. Babcock, USAF, Commander, 62nd Maintenance Group, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

At Arlington National Cemetery, more than 75,000 volunteers placed 244,700 wreaths (one for each marker there). It was the largest crowd since the tradition began in 1992. A network of hundreds of volunteer drivers trucked nearly 500 truckloads of  more than 1,565,000 remembrance wreaths to every state in the union.  Other dedicated volunteers committed countless hours to conduct this coordinated event that helps accomplish WAA’s mission to “Remember, Honor, and Teach.” Please see the WAA Official Facebook page and its website, http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/, as well as http://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil.

VFW Post 1040, Lynnwood, supplied the Color Guard and Honor Guard (rifle team and bugler). I sounded “Taps” on my Getzen bugle at the close of the ceremony. The Post’s website is http://www.vfw1040.org.

For an 11-photo slideshow with captions by Alan Berner, The Seattle Times, please see https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/seattle-area-fallen-veterans-honored-in-wreaths-across-america-ceremonies.

For more information on both WAA and this local event, please my past blog posts of:

  • 30 Dec 2016
  • 5 Feb 2016
  • 28 Apr 2015
  • 9 Jan 2013
  • 16 Dec 2011

These photos are courtesy of Alan Berner, The Seattle Times. Please click on any 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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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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