By Sarrah Peters
When Daniel Butterfield rewrote an earlier call to create Taps during the Civil War, he probably didn’t know how iconic the call would become.
The mournful 24 notes of Taps is now the traditional farewell to members of the armed forces at funerals, but lately the tradition hasn’t been honored as it should.
In 2000, many budget cuts were made to the armed forces, including the military bands. Now, a single untrained military member presses play on a ceremonial bugle, which can malfunction.
Bugles Across America is a nonprofit orginization that enlists volunteer musicians to attend the funerals of veterans to play Taps live. The buglers must audition to ensure they can play the piece with ease and style.
Local musician Keith Mayo found out about this orginization from an old friend that served with him in the Marine Band. Mayo had just retired from the Alabama Department of Corrections. Mayo didn’t know how to play a bugle, but he decided to learn.
“Being a former Marine, this hit close to home,” said Mayo. “Veterans are having funerals every week, and they are not getting their due.”
Bugles across America is always looking for more volunteer buglers. Anyone can request a live bugler. For more information, visit www.buglesacrossamerica.org.