Live Taps at Military Funerals on the Decline

April 29, 2016 | | Comments 0

If you have attended military funerals in recent months, you may have noticed a couple of them playing “Taps” through MP3 players and portable speakers.   It’s a growing trend that just does not have the same effect as hearing it live.  But it’s not all down to a progression from live to automated.  A shortage of bugle players have made electronic versions a necessity for some families who want to hear it at the ceremony.

Budget cuts have had an impact on professional buglers who are paid directly through the armed forces.  A military cut in 2012 was the catalyst for a reduction in buglers due to a reduction in the money allocated to Honor Guard units.  Another issue is a reduction in the number of musicians able to perform the anthem.

In Long Island, New York, for example, Louis DiLeo is the only bugle player available in the southern region of NY’s Military Forces Honor Guard to play the touching notes at services for fallen military personnel.  Due to the shortage, he is keeping quite busy traveling to various funerals in the area to give families their desire to hear “Taps” played live on a bugle. According to DiLeo, he started doing this more than three years ago and he has not missed a day during that time.

While this trend has been on the rise in some military funerals, family and friends of the fallen soldier can still seek out their own professional musician in order to deliver “Taps” in person.   The prices charged by professional musicians can vary greatly though some might be willing to offer special rates for military ceremonies.

Are you a bugler who is able to travel around your area and provide this last tribute to fallen soldiers? If so, please contact your local VFW office or military reserve to let them know. It’s a great way to spend your time while lightening the load for the few buglers who are left.

Filed Under: Funeral Industry


About the Author: Kelly lives near Columbus, Ohio with her wife and two children. She enjoys urban exploration, hiking and is an avid reader.

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