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Buglers forced to travel long distances to play at military funerals

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The musical arrangement known as "Taps" has been played as a final salute to our service men and women since the Civil War. For many years, a bugler would play the farewell tune. But in the early 2000's, the military began to experience a shortage of buglers. The military did come up with a solution for this shortage, but it's not a solution that sits well with everyone.
     
"That's a whole lost less than a man who has given his life for his country, then you give people second rate funerals. And that's second rate," said Herman Faulk.

For several years Faulk received stacks of letters from people desperate for a bugler. They needed someone to play Taps for a service member who was being laid to rest. Some requests came at a moment's notice, requiring Faulk to pick up and go the following day. It didn't bother him because he couldn't stand the thought of our service members being buried to a tape recording.

At 86, Faulk's bugling days have come to an end due to doctors orders. But he can't help but pick up and play the song that's brought so many to tears. Faulk's journey as bugler started many years ago as boy who hitch hiked several miles to take trumpet lessons; to a young man participating in the military academy band at west point, to a World war II veteran and member of Bugles Across America.

"I wasn't active duty and I didn't fight for the country. But this is something that I could do. And it was very rewarding," said Faulk.

He's not alone. There are more than seven thousand members in Bugles Across America.

"This is my service. Not only to my country but to the people we lay to rest every time I get to play," said Gene Ramsay.

Ramsay is state director for bugles Across America. The the non-profit was founded in 2000 when Congress passed legislation stating veterans have a right to at least two uniformed military people to fold the flag and play taps.

"We just feel like though that it is so important that those individuals get that live version coming from an individual to an individual as a final thank you for their service," said Ramsay.

Not every family requests live taps. But if and when they do, buglers are standing by to meet the need.

"Taps means something a little bit different to everybody but it is always that final farewell. It's the final sounds that say farewell to a hero," said Ramsay.

For more information visit buglesacrossamerica.org

 

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