BUCKHANNON – Every year on Memorial Day, bugle players around the world join forces to honor the lives of the men and women in the military who sacrificed their lives to protect the freedom of others.
Michael Wilson, who has been playing Taps since the age of 15, stood proudly at the American Flag Base outside the Upshur County Courthouse on Monday afternoon. At 3 p.m. sharp Wilson raised his bugle high and blared out the beautiful song which is often heard but seldom fully understood. “These are the 24 hardest notes for anyone to play,” Wilson said. “It’s for the guys and girls, and the nurses who haven’t come home.”
Taps For Veterans is a voluntary organization that provides deceased service members with a live performance of Taps in place of a recording. Taps For Veterans is run by former military musicians who understand the importance of sounding the right Taps – the “national song of remembrance” – as a way of expressing the nation’s gratitude for a veteran’s service. Taps is sounded daily in veterans cemeteries around the world. It’s a haunting yet distinctive American melody.
Just 24 notes, these clear and sad tones evoke memories of lost loved ones, instill hope and bring comfort and peace to the families and communities of those who have served with honor. Wilson has played Taps himself for 62 years and has said he is more than honored to do so.
Last year, between 700 and 800 bugles from all over the world sounded Taps at 3:00 p.m. on their time. This year, over 2,500 musicians from around the world took part in the Taps Memorial Day survey. The association is always looking for volunteers and encourages players to register on their volunteer page, www.tapsforveterans.org.