Turning Archive 2005

Way of Topic, but I think necessary *LINK*

>This has zero to do with Lathe-turning, but I think you folks will be interested, and I certainly want to pass the word along.

This past weekened, I played Taps at graveside for a couple of WWII WACs, and I wanted to tell you how that came to pass. You may or may not be aware that there is a shortage (in the military) of buglers to play Taps at funerals for veterans. The volume of our nations veterans passing away on a daily basis far outstips what our military can support (in the way of buglers). They end up using an electronic horn - a member of the honor guard is supposed to pretend he's playing it, and basically he flips a switch, holds it to his mouth, and the thing plays a recording of Taps. I asked the National Guard kid about it, and he said "I feel like an @ss when I have to do it."

Earlier this year, I signed up on a website called buglesacrossamerica (the link is attached if I did this correctly). Basically, you (the bugler) sign up, and get e-mail notifications of veteran funerals in your state when the family has requested a bugler on that webiste. But of course, the family has to know about the website to make the request. I'm writing this to you primarily so you know about the organization, and can pass along the word. I saw one of those electornic horns this weekend, and was quite pleased to see the National Guard take it back to the car. There are 1500 buglers signed up on the website, ready, willing, and able to play.

A word of caution, however - first is that you can't be promised a bugler. It is subject to people's availability, and I'm sure the geographic area where you live. I've had to pass on many in my area because of my work schedule. In fact, there is one going on right this very minute, five miles from me, and I'm stuck at work, typing to you because I feel so badly about missing it. Hopefully somebody else saw the notice and made arrangements with the family to play.

The organization is a not for profit (the site does not charge families anything), but I believe some buglers do request reimbursement - they give up a lot of their day, and are driving some distance to play sometimes. It guess it is appropriate. I personally have no interest in being reimbursed, but if the family walks up to me with an envelope in the cemetery, you kind of have to take it. This family felt honorbound, and surprised me with a lovely card and a $50 tucked in there. In my mind, the fee has already been paid. But I play these very infrequently, so it isn't a huge draw on my time.

Saturday marked only the 2nd and 3rd times I have done this. I was only scheduled to play for one, but as fate would have it, there was another WAC being buried about 100 yards away. The services were back to back and it was my great honor to play for both of them. The first time I played Taps was a memorial service for a gentleman who had already been buried at Arlington a few months prior. The son wanted Taps played at the memorial service, and just about pumped my arm off when he met me. The deceased was HIGHLY decorated. I stayed out of the sanctuary until the last minute because I knew I would get emotionally attached, and you don't want that before you play. I never saw the son after the service - the widow told me that as soon as I started playing, he passed out in the pew. It can be a very powerful 24 notes.

Anyway, I hope you'll remember this organization - we've got veterans passing away every day (young and old), and we need to make sure they are given appropriate honor and tribute.

David B.

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