Military members can have Taps played during services

An area organization is looking for a few good buglers to provide military honors at funeral services.

In 2002 Congress put into law that veterans have a right to be honored at their funerals with at least two uniformed service members to fold an American flag presented to the family as well as the playing of Taps.

Due to the low number of military branches that can in fact provide the live playing of taps, Bugles Across America was created to provide the honor, with more than 35 buglers ready to respond to requests in the area.

According to North Carolina State Director Glenn Traylor, the Tar Heel state has 187 volunteer buglers that can be dispatched within 24 hours to a service within 100 miles to play for a veteran’s funeral.

Anyone can volunteer to be a bugler, he said, with volunteers in North Carolina ranging in age from 12 to 80.

The only requirement is that the bugler be proficient in the playing of Taps, which is determined at an audition, and be ready at a moment’s notice when the call comes in from funeral homes, families or friends.

“Some of our buglers are award-winning musicians that could definitely get up and play and rouse the crowd and play whatever they wanted to play. That is not our mission. Our mission is to provide Taps and do it in a way that is dignified and respectful,” Traylor said.

The bugler doesn’t have to be connected to the military in any way, Traylor said, but many of them are.

Traylor’s father was in the military.

He said each bugler’s reason for volunteering is different.

“Many of them it is because someone they admired or was related to served,” he said. “I get some that say they’re doing it because it is the very least we can do for our veterans. Some of that is the residual from Vietnam era. (Buglers) are going to do as much as they can because some of these guys didn’t get the right recognition while they were serving. I’ve got some folks that are former military so for them doing a service is like doing it for their battle buddy.”

Buglers provide the playing of Taps for veteran services free of charge. The request just simply needs to be made, which Traylor said many families don’t know is an option when planning their veteran’s funeral.

“Part of my mission is to find buglers and part of my mission is to spread the word,” he said. “A lot of families don’t know we are available. When they have a loss they haven’t been down that road before and don’t know how to handle (veteran funeral arrangements).”

Planning a funeral is overwhelming enough and new to most, Traylor said, with military honors occasionally falling through the cracks.

Or many families when planning a veteran’s funeral believe that the honors part of the service is being taken care of when in reality it hasn’t been, Traylor said. That is why it is so important to spread the word of the BAA’s services to insure that every veteran is honored with a live playing of taps instead of a recording, he said.

If more funeral directors and even military liaisons involved in funeral planning know that BAA is available they can immediately make a request, allowing more advance notice to help solidify a bugler.

While it is a goal to make every funeral service, those that take place during the week can be difficult to find a volunteer that is available, Traylor said, making the recruiting process that much more important.

Anyone needing bugle services can make a request on the BAA website at buglesacrossameria.org. For North Carolina services, contact Traylor at 919-280-5905.