Blogs > From The Bleacher Seats

A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Taps is no catchy tune

I played Taps.
First-chair trumpet player in the high school band, so I got the nod.
Sadly, business was steady during the Vietnam War.
They’d pull me out of school and I would head to one of the local cemeteries. Family and friends would be tear-stained and grief-stricken and I’d play Taps.
It was haunting, even if I did not know the soldier they were laying to rest.
I would hit rewind on Memorial Day.
The parade would end at the veteran’s memorial, and I’d play Taps again.
That’s as close as I got to serving.
By the time I got of age, the draft had ceased. Instead, they had the lottery, and believe me, when my birthday was announced, it was number 320 or something like that.
I was ecstatic. By that time Walter Cronkite spent a small chunk of every newscast giving the daily box score. So many American soldiers were killed today. So many North Vietnamese and Viet Cong soldiers were killed today. It was like ESPN’s SportsCenter with a much more tragic twist.
I never kept a tally on how many times I played Taps. It was way too often, though.
I hope you went to a Memorial Day parade on Monday. My wife and I always do. It’s the least any of us can do. They always play Taps at our hometown parade. It brings back memories.


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