Having run the funeral/memorial bugle roster at Ft. Benning, Georgia, allow me to enlighten everyone what the active duty buglers in the Army are up against. On average, an Army band has six trumpet players. Those six players also play all the gigs with the band. We covered 82 counties that went from Montgomery, Alabama, down to the Florida panhandle and most of lower Georgia. This area is HEAVILY populated with vets because of the large hospital at Ft. Benning. There was always a primary and secondary bugler for the week. I rotated the guys on the weekends to be fair to them and their families since some weekends were heavier than others. The primary was gone ALL THE TIME. The secondary would be gone if the band could function without them on the gig(80% of the time). Approximately 1000 vets die every day. There are 24 regular Army bands. I am aware of the other service bands, BAA, National Guard bands and people willing to freelance for the funerals. The odds are still against the buglers. Unless it is your job to play Taps, it is hard to make it happen because it is always short notice(usually 2 days for Army buglers). If you add the funerals for active duty military into the mix, the hill is even harder to climb. On average the services lose 500 people a year to training accidents or other causes of death. Add to that our war dead. Then there is location. I actually worked it out with a bugler that he could have Friday off if he would cover funerals into the Florida peninsula on the weekend because that was where his wife was living and going to school. I tried to never say no to a funeral but, that was almost impossible. Deeper Florida, as we referred to it, was not our area but they always called us and we tried to accomodate them out of respect for the vet's service. I am no longer on active duty because of an injury. I have not played Taps since my discharge in October of 2006. I probably won't play it for a few more years. In 12 years of service I played Taps close to 1000 times for one reason or another. Having seen kids lose their fathers, mothers and fathers lose their sons and daughters, and spouses lose their soul mate that many times, can you blame me? The military buglers work their butts off, as do many other volunteers. They all need a break eventually and alot of times there is no one there to take their place. Maybe that is why there aren't enough live buglers to go around.