It was one of those gray “wintry” days where you don’t know if it’s going to rain or snow. A thick fog was settling in around us as we quietly moved closer to our positions.
It was like a scene from a movie as I walked behind the honor guard, from the little country church to the cemetery located a short distance away.
There were no lights. There were no cameras. This wasn’t a movie. This was real. This was Viet Nam. This was Iraq.
This was Afghanistan, Korea, World War II, World War I and every other war that has ever been fought. Another brave young soldier had given their life for their country.
We reached our positions. I was standing about 30 yards away from the honor guard, which was the standard protocol. There was a brief service and then the detail leader called out the order for the 21 gun salute.
“Attention!” ….. “Present Arms!” Ready… Aim…Fire!
As the first shot rang out I felt the jolt as I could just feel the pain of the young widow, who was doing her best to keep it together for the sake of her children.
After the second shot was fired I brought the trumpet to my lips.
“Ready… Aim…Fire!” , the leader of the detail called out the command for the third volley.
As I was playing, the sound of my trumpet was producing this eerie, almost surreal echo in the morning fog which made it seem like it was carrying the mournful sound of, “Taps” from my trumpet miles into the distance.
The detail leader called the order to present arms. I stood at attention and saluted as the flag was given to the young mother.
That was 45 years ago and I remember every detail as if it happened this morning. I’ll never forget that day or the many other days I had the sad honor to play, “Taps.”
Gary Michaels is the Founder/Executive Producer of MTI Studios and Gary Michaels Online. Since entering the Brand Syndication field in 1980 he has produced Syndicated Branding Campaigns for over 5,000 local and regional advertisers throughout the US, Canada,New Zealand and Australia. (Photos by Thinkstock)
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