Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Humans of Downey - Charles

From the Memorial Day Ceremony at the Downey Cemetery, May 27, 2019.

"It's hard to play [taps] sometimes because of if you think too much about it, you can easily crack a note or worse. But famously, the bugler that played taps at President Kennedy's funeral cracked a note but no one cared.

"I couldn't play taps for my dad's funeral. I just knew I wouldn't be able to get through it. I had my best friend, Larry, who's a fabulous trumpet player, play it. I've been doing this Memorial Day service in Downey for eleven years. It kind of rolls up on you. It doesn't hit you in the first couple of notes, but once you get going and you start to realize everyone's listening and everyone within themselves is thinking what it means to them. And if you let that get to you, you'll screw it up.

"I played taps for my boss a few years ago. I worked for a company that built trumpets down in Anaheim. When I left, we didn't part on the best of terms, but when he died the family asked me to play at his memorial. I was so grateful that they did. I was playing and handling it alright even though it was a hot dry summer day. I was handling it until I looked up and saw his urn and a large photo of him. That's when I distinctly heard his voice right behind me saying, 'Don't screw it up!' And so I cracked a note. It's hard to separate yourself from that emotion.

"There is an organization called Bugles Across America that is all volunteer. Their mission is to make sure that no vet has a funeral without a taps player."

~ Charles

1 comment:

  1. It is played here as well, particularly at Remembrance Day.


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