PROCTORVILLE — It’s one of the most poignant moments a veteran can experience. Hearing “Taps” played for one of his own.
Performing that familiar military musical composition is the duty of the bugler. And for the VFW Post 6878 in Rome Township that position is now held by Fairland High student Michael Black, 15.
Black took over those duties after the former bugler, Kira Dillon, graduated from Fairland High. He got the opportunity when he was recommended for the duty by the Fairland band director.
Black began his studies of the trumpet when he was in sixth grade when he enrolled in the school’s band program. He hopes one day to pursue a musical career.
When Black is called to perform “Taps,” he accompanies the VFW post’s honor guard to the cemetery ahead of the funeral procession. So far he has performed at seven funerals. He will remain the post’s official bugler until he graduates from high school.
“Once the procession arrives, they salute the coffin, while it is taken from the hearse to the gravesite,” he said.
After the honor guard performs the 21-gun salute, then Black plays the simple notes of “Taps”.
“There are only 24 notes, but they are the most emotional notes that you will ever play,” he said.
After “Taps”, the honor guard then stands at attention as a prayer is said.
Black will also accompany the post honor guard as it travels from cemetery to cemetery in the eastern part of the county on Memorial Day for special holiday ceremonies.
“ I think it is an honor to do it,” the young man said. “The people who fight for our country don’t really get much recognition until they are in a VFW. Once they die they are leaving a story behind. They need to be recognized. (Performing) is sad, but you are honoring that person.”
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