I cannot tell
you how many hundreds of times that I have played the solemn 24 notes of
Taps. From the time as a young Boy Scout where I was proud to earn my
merit badge as a bugler, and time to time as a Member of the USAF Drum and
Bugle Corps. I was called upon to play Taps for a departed veteran being
buried nearby where I was stationed.
There have been other occasions to numerous to mention where I played for
various patriotic occasions, Veterans Day, Memorial Day and the like.
What I do remember quite vividly is how it made me feel as an American to
have the honor to be able to play at each of these solemn occasions.
Taps represents a rite of passage for our veterans who have answered their
final roll call. Family members remember with a great deal of pride how
their departed loved ones felt about the time that they had spent wearing
the uniform of the various branches of the military and how proud they
were to have served our country, whether it was for a brief period of time
or a career in the armed forces.
To all of us Taps represents the final salute, and a symbol of gratitude
for a “job well done. It also represents a moment of closure for the
loved ones and helps them release a great deal of pent up emotion at the
loss of their husband, wife, son or daughter.
Having witnessed so many of these ceremonies and listened to the comments
of the bereaved families, I know that the symbolic playing of taps helps
ease the pain of their loss. So many times folks have told me how proud
their departed soldier, sailor or marine would have been, and how pleased
they would be hearing the sad sounds of taps being played in their memory.
A couple of years ago I heard about a new organization that had started in
Chicago called Bugles across America (BAA). A retired Marine Gunny
Sergeant by the name of Tom Day founded BAA when he first learned that
there was such a shortage of buglers, that they had resorted to playing
recordings of Taps, and even more recently had invented a devise that you
stick into the bell of a bugle that plays a digital version of taps, while
a person holds the bugle up to their lips.
Today there are thousands of men and women, young and old, veterans and
non veterans who have dusted off their horns and have volunteered to
perform taps for military funerals and other solemn occasions.
I want family members and other folks to be aware of the fact that you do
not have to settle for recordings, and phony bugle players to honor your
departed veterans. The members of Bugles across America are ready,
willing, able and proud to perform taps for our honored diseased veterans.
If and when you ever have a need for a real live bugler, there are several
things that you can do. First of all you can tell your Funeral Director
that you want them to contact Bugles across America. There is a web site:
or you can call 401 782 6133 and tell Mike Jackson, the Rhode Island
Director of BAA that you need a bugler. We will be there.
Thanks to all veterans for their gift to the nation, and God Bless