Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley
The other day I received an e-mail from a Project Vigil follower. The e-mail brought to my attention a problem in America that needs to be addressed immediately. For that reason, I've decided to dedicate a blog post to it.
What is Taps?
In this short and excellent video, Jari Villanueva, Taps historian and bugler, explains the origin, importance and tradition of Taps.
What is the problem?
Every veteran has the right to have a live musician play Taps at his or her funeral, out of respect and to thank them for their service, as stated in P.L. 106-65, sec. 578. With an ever-increasing number of veteran deaths each year, it is becoming increasingly difficult to satisfy the demand of musicians to keep this tradition alive. In an effort to deal with this problem, in 2000, Congress made it possible for a recorded version of Taps to be played, while two uniformed members of the military fold the flag. Congress did this to substitute the live musicians. I think our veterans deserve more. A story I read states that this problem has become so severe that a woman, unable to find a competent bugler to play Taps at her father's funeral, had a person come and pretend to play Taps by holding an instrument up to his lips, while a recorded version resonated through the loud speakers.
Tom Day and Bugles Across America
The same year that Congress passed the law about recorded versions of Taps being played, Tom Day founded Bugles Across America, an organization that brings together buglers in all 50 states. If someone needs a bugler to play Taps at a veteran's funeral, they can contact Bugles Across America, who will then provide them with a bugler. The organization is now comprised of more than 4,000 musicians, but they are always looking for more buglers. If you have any further questions concerning this organization, or can help, please feel free to click here to access their website.
While reading up on the shortage of buglers for funerals, I discovered that the Internet is full of posts and articles about this problem (click here to read an excellent article by Billy Watkins of The Clarion-Ledger). I wrote this short post to help raise awareness about a problem known chiefly by those directly effected by it, but not by the public in general. I had no idea how bad this situation was until looking into it for this blog post. Therefore, if you have the chance to do the same as I did, and make a small effort to try and help out, please do so. It doesn't cost anything, and takes very little time. Thank you.