Viewing the rows of headstones at Arlington National Cemetery is an emotional experience. Standing in straight lines as if in place of the fallen, the rows extent for 624 acres. They present the enormity of the sacrifices made by each generation, going all the way back to the Civil War. It can be a lot to handle.
Military funerals continue to be conducted at Arlington. An important part of these solemn functions is the playing of ‘Taps.’ ‘Taps’ was first played in July of 1862 at Harrison’s Landing, Virginia and was soon adopted by both the North and South. In 1891, it became a standard part of U.S. military funerals. ‘Taps’ is uniquely suited to them. As the final note dies away in farewell, it can bring chills to those who remain behind.
It’s an honor and a somber duty to play ‘Taps’ at an Arlington funeral. Buglers from the United States Army Band perform it all year round. SSG Jesse Tubb played on a summer day. Sunshine, warm breezes and green grass belied the sadness of the occasion and were a reminder that “in the midst of life, we are in death.” SSG Drew Fremder played in a snowfall, the snowy mist making the headstones look ghostly and the surroundings even more hushed.
A military funeral is a reminder of the many who’ve died for our freedom and beliefs. The buglers at Arlington are always ready to perform their duties, no matter what the weather or circumstances.