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My Turn: 'Taps' best in person

Many veteran funerals close with the playing of “Taps,” 24 haunting notes that make up one of the most cherished pieces of American music.

But according to Jim Little, a 1966 Eastern New Mexico University graduate who now lives in Minneola, Texas, that touching melody is often created by a computer chip inserted in a symbolic horn.

link Betty Williamson

Little believes the 150-year-old piece is best performed live, and he is part of an organization called Bugles Across America that exists for that sole purpose: Providing talented buglers wherever they are needed for the blowing of “Taps.”

At last month’s ENMU Alumni Band concert, Little led a dozen alumni buglers in a tear-inducing arrangement of “Harmonized Taps.” (Little told me that regardless of the horn used — trumpet, coronet, or bugle — a “bugler” always blows “Taps”).

Little told the audience that Bugles Across America was founded in 2000 by retired Marine Tom Day. Today it is a network of more than 7,500 volunteers such as Little, who offer their talents free of charge, primarily at funerals for those who have served this nation, but also for patriotic and educational events.

If you’re a bugler, or you need one, visit, or contact the organization at Bugles Across America NFP, c/o Tom Day, 1824 S. Cuyler Ave., Berwyn, Illinois 60402-2052, phone 708-484-9029.

Betty Williamson tips her patriotic top hat to American buglers, past, present and future. You may reach her at [email protected].