I had expected that the post from yesterday concerning America’s Old Guard placing approximately 284,000 Memorial Day flags at Arlington National Cemetery would be all that Funeral Director Daily would do specifically for the Memorial Day holiday.
However, this morning I was watching the national news on television and a short story of an organization that I had never heard of was ran. The story concerned Bugles Across America, a non-profit that was formed to make sure that every American veteran has a live bugle for the playing of “Taps” instead of tape recorded versions. One of our goals at Funeral Director Daily is to let those in the profession know what is out there to help our industry. I’m a 37-year industry veteran, have conducted thousands of funerals, yet did not know of this great service available to the families of our deceased troops. I figured that funeral directors needed to know of this resource.
It turns out that Bugles Across America was founded in 2000 when, and you probably remember this, Congress passed P.L. 106-65 that states “every qualified veteran has a right to Military Funeral Honors”. This included, at a minimum, two people to fold and present the flag and a sounding of Taps. The bill allowed that if a bugler could not be found, then a recorded Taps could be played. I remember the federal government providing a fake bugle with a recorded Taps to all veteran organizations that asked for it at that time.
A shortage of buglers was then addressed by the founding of Buglers Across America that was formed, as a 501C-3 organization, to provide live buglers for these events. BAA does not charge members to join, nor does it collect dues. Many of their bugler members are professional musicians, but others are very capable amateurs. Members must supply their own instruments, pass a playing proficiency test, and are responsible for appearing in a timely fashion at the service. Buglers are not paid but the organization has supplied over 700 horns and some uniforms to their members.
To date, Bugles Across America believes that they have played at the grave sites of over 250,000 service men and women and have contributed over 2 million volunteer hours to these veterans and their families. These volunteers play 24 notes in about 45 seconds which reflect a lifetime of dedication and honor to Country.
Funeral Directors — make sure you hit the link above to learn more about this organization and how it can help you serve families. Secondly, if you have buglers in your area make sure you contact them about joining the organization and finally, I ask that you join me in sending a check for $100 to Bugles Across America today to keep this great service to America’s veterans going. The link above will help you learn more and give information on how to donate.