Veterans buried in silence: Group tries to revive Taps at military funerals

Hundreds of American veterans are dying each day and each of them, without a doubt, earned the honor of “Taps” played during their funeral ceremony as a final tribute for their sacrifice.

“It is the most haunting 24 notes a person hears, and if played well, it can make you cry,” said Tom Day, founder of Bugles across America.

Unfortunately, today many veterans are buried in silence. There are simply not enough buglers to play at every funeral.

As an alternative, there is an increasing use of a small box that has Taps pre-recorded on it. A person with no musical talent can the small box in a trumpet or bugle, and “press play,” the sound and the appearance of a musician playing Taps live.


For some, the Faucets recording version is sufficient. But Day and others say that the “fake” version of robs veterans of the real dignity of having a bugler play live at their funeral.

“That man and woman who served his country or her country – in our country—they deserve the best,” Day told Fox News.

So in 2000, the Day started with his organization, Bugles across America. The organization basically looking for the buglers in the entire country is ready and willing to play at funerals in their region.

Today, Bugles, has a database of 5000 horn players nationwide, ranging in age from 10 to 95. A grieving family can enter their postal code into the Bugles In America website to find the nearest Bugler.

“That is my goal, so many families happy,” Day said. “Whether I play in a home or in the church or where they want me to play, that is where I go.”

Day says Bugles In America has played to more than 200,000 funerals for the families of the fallen since the year 2000.

“It is my prayer and I just love playing and taking care of people,” Day said.


The bugle itself is a very unique instrument. Only suitable for playing a few notes. Historically, it is used almost entirely for military purposes.

Day realize how scarce a real bugle has reached another instrument manufacturers in an attempt to ensure bugles would be made. A little bit of the American “destiny” was when he approached Getzen music company in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. Getzen agreed to form a team with the Day, and was the first American manufacturer of Bugles in decades.

“An eye-opening experience to realize how many veterans will not have the honor of the sound of a live bugler to sound Taps,” said Getzen president Brett Getzen.

Today, Getzen produces hundreds of hand-made bugles on the Wisconsin in the factory.

Getzen, whose grandfather had Taps played by a bugler at the funeral, says it is an honor to be the manufacturer of an instrument used almost exclusively on veterans funerals.

“These people sacrificed and gave for us, it’s the least we can do, is an instrument and a real musician to give them their last honor.”

Bugles across America, a non-profit organization, no need to count families and is currently averaging about 2300 funerals nationwide per month. It offers a live musician who uses a real brass instrument to play that are instantly recognizable patriotic song to send to America’s finest, buried in red, white and blue.

“When I see pride in the family’s faces, I know that in their hearts,” Day said. “And I go home very happy, in the hope that I can do it again tomorrow.”

Matt Finn is a Fox News correspondent based in the Chicago office. Follow him on Twitter: @MattFinnFNC

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