That was only 10 years on active duty as a military trumpet player, and The Old Guard stopped doing the off-post funerals like they had in the past. Some of my friends who were in the Fife and Drum before me did a lot more than that.
Some of them blur together, but there are a few that stand out. One of the worst ones I had to do was a double funeral for a recent widower who lost both of his sons in a car accident the night before his son who was in the Army was supposed to get married. This big bear of a man was absolutely crushed with grief.
I also did a number of funerals for the 14th Quartermaster Detachment who lost members from a SCUD missile during Desert Storm.
14th Quartermaster Detachment - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
They sent 3 buglers to Monroeville, PA on TDY, plus a guy to do logistics, and that's all we did that week - each of us would play "Taps" at 1-2 funerals a day. This was when I was still at the First US Army Band at Fort Meade.
Another one I remember was a long-distance funeral I did up in the mountains of PA. It was cold - probably about 27-28 degrees, but the air was really still. The location was this little family cemetery out in the country on a mountainside. Just before I started to play it started to snow very gently - just a few flakes, drifting slowly down, and when I did play, with the combination of the cold still air and the mountains, my sound just rang out and echoed.
Those were the good ones. There were others that weren't so picturesque, such as the funeral in Washington DC next to a busy multi-lane road. It was a hot summer day, and just as I started to play an 18 wheeler going down the road down-shifted, causing that big "BRRRRAAAAAAAPPAPAPAPAPP" sound. All I could do was to increase my volume to get over the sound of the busy road nearby.
And then there were ones that we did in torrential downpours. Logistics didn't alway work out very well for the family.
Through it all I always tried to remember that if might have been my umpteenth funeral, but it was just one funeral for the family, and they deserved my very best every time.