A Final Memorial Day Link

A story about “Taps” and the people who play it and why.

6 Comments on “A Final Memorial Day Link”

  1. Everytime I hear this song I’m reminded of my grandfather’s funeral. He was a Navy man in both the Second World War and Korea. They played it and a 21 gun salute.

  2. I first played taps for a military burial when I was 13 years old.

    I remember perfectly the brisk and biting cold of that autumn day on a river bluff in Hannibal… cold enough that as I waited in my best suit, some twenty or thirty yards from the grave site, I kept my horn’s mouthpiece in my armpit. (I’d learned after 4 years of marching band that you can play a cold horn, but not a cold mouthpiece.)

    I’d played all sorts of events: weddings, festivals, competitions… even the ordination of a bishop. No venue, though, found me more nervous than standing in that place, shifting my feet under the watchful gaze of the elderly, uniformed officer who was in charge of the event and who was clearly incredulous that some geeky kid was going to signal taps for the decorated WWII veteran that would soon be arriving.

    When the moment came (with a frantic, overstated signal from the elderly gentleman) even *I* was struck by the haunting, shining sound that came out of the instrument I’d been playing for more than half my young life.

    I played twenty-four notes.

    And after, that elderly uniformed officer shook my hand, tears still streaming down his face.

    Bugles Across America is a fine organization that is always looking for more buglers. If you play, I recommend you consider joining them.

    There’s no greater gig.

  3. “I guess that’s part of it, too,” he said. “When you have a live bugler behind the horn instead of some recording, it’s not going to be perfect. That’s what makes it human, what gives it meaning.”

    That, right there, sums up the whole article perfectly. It’s all about honouring the life of the departed, and acknowledging the loss of the bereaved.

    Taps is a beautiful piece of music, although, being Australian myself, it lacks the emotional impact that the Last Post holds. I still get a chill down my spine every time I hear that.

    To members of Bugles Across America, (and the regional analogues world-wide), my hat’s off to you.

  4. I played Taps for a funeral once. It was for a friend of the family, and I don’t think I really appreciated what I was doing at the time, but I still remember it.

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