TAPS at military funerals

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by hup_d_dup, Sep 21, 2011.

  1. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    That's all news to me - I have literally played Taps at hundreds of funerals and that's not how it went, mainly because the firing party were also the flag folders, so the flag couldn't be presented before the volleys - it had to be done afterward. In my sequence it was:

    3 volleys
    "Present, Arms!"
    Firing party does "stack arms"
    Firing party marches up to the casket and folds the flag
    Flag is presented to the NCOIC in charge of the honors detail
    NCOIC presents the flag to the next of kin and salutes

    That's the basic gist of it - it was a 7 person detail with 5 members of the firing party, plus FPC and the NCOIC.
  2. hup_d_dup

    hup_d_dup Piano User

    May 28, 2009
    Tewksbury, NJ, USA
    Sorry, the proper name is Florida National Cemetery. The people down there (I'm from NJ) all refer to it as National Cemetery. It's in Bushnell, FL.

    Evidently it was news to the Marine bugler too, who followed the standard sequence.

    Incidentally, he played on a bugle that had a very wide flare on the bell. Beautiful sound.
  3. Buck with a Bach

    Buck with a Bach Fortissimo User

    Dec 29, 2009
    Canton, Ohio
    Hup, My condolences on the passing of your Father-in-Law.......Buck
  4. Chuck Cox

    Chuck Cox Forte User

    Oct 3, 2008
    Cary NC
    I like alot of the reponses here. I was one of the U.S. Coast Guard Buglers ( 1976-1978 ).We had buglers in Alameda, CA , New London, CT , and Cape May, NJ. I covered the east coast from Cape May, NJ. I didn't count how many funerals that I played. I'm not sure that I wanted to know the count. I was 18 to 20 years old. One thing that I always did was to find out the story of the deceased. We do it for them. In full military honors, we wait for the widow/next of kin to be presented with folded Colors from the casket. The Captain of the Funeral Party presents the Colors on behalf of the President Of The United States. After those words from the Captain and handing the Colors to the widow/next of kin, he takes a step back and salutes. We play taps after that moment. Very distant and solemn ( almost haunting ) as God Is Nigh. We are heard, not seen. 24 notes. The 6th is the hardest. Play at your tempo with feeling. I often placed myself in the woods or behind a tombstone upwind. Just think about the notes and nothing else. You'll do fine. My last TAPS was in 1980 for 23 brave men and women that died aboard the Coast Guard Buoy Tender Blackthorn in Mullet Key Channel, St. Pete, FL. You can't mess up. All will follow your lead.
  5. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    It wasn't one of those electronic bugles, was it? That's what they look like.
  6. hup_d_dup

    hup_d_dup Piano User

    May 28, 2009
    Tewksbury, NJ, USA
    It wasn't my service and I observed it from a considerable distance. I could have been fooled.
  7. acarcido

    acarcido Forte User

    Dec 28, 2009
    Ontario, Ca
  8. mtbevins

    mtbevins Pianissimo User

    Jan 18, 2011
    Phoenix, Arizona
    I agree with trickg in that there are a few customary things which do not always fit the situation. The triangle thing is nice but not necessary. If you do the “heard but not seen” thing, people might think they are hearing a CD of tapes being played and not a real player. I would not wait 5 seconds after the "Present arms" command to start playing a shorter pause is better. I was in the Air Force at Luke Air Force Base (Arizona) honor guard for two years. I was the only bugler for almost that entire time, so I was called out for every funeral. Phoenix has a large retirement community so you can imagine how many times they needed us. Like trickg, I can say that most funerals I did blur together but a few stand out. I did a ceremony for an Arizona National Air Guard Chief Master Sergeant that passed away at Sky Harbor Airport (That is the commercial airport in Phoenix). They shut down the airport for the duration of the ceremony which was amazing. I got there early and spoke with the AZ guard guys that were the rifle team and flag folders / paul bearers. They were easy to work with and I brought all the uniform parts so I could change to match them. I remember this huge crowd there and how nervous I felt. But after the “Present Arms” command was given I knew I was on. I remember hearing myself play and the sound bouncing off the surrounding hangers. Echo is a good thing. For me if I hear the feed back of the echo and it sounds good it puts me at ease. After taps, we all stood at attention when a Cessna 310 twin engine aircraft taxied up slowly and the urn containing the remains of the Chief were loaded on board and immediately took the active runway and flew off to the Arizona White Mountains for his last flight.

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