As a person with more than 20 years in the military, I strongly agree with the other military members who wrote to the Payson Roundup saying that Tom Day and the other Bugles Across America people who wrote insulting letters about the bugler holding a digital bugle were way out of line, both in their language and their attitude. They insulted a volunteer who did what he did with great respect for tradition and for the dead, and did it on his own time and at his own expense.
I see absolutely no disrespect in inserting a small digital device into a bugle so that "Taps" can be played by a non-musician, thereby retaining the visual appearance of a old tradition at a time when there simply are not enough live buglers to do the job. In a USA Today article published on June 22, 2004, it was pointed out that the digital device was developed to replace "boom boxes" that were used before the digital bugle became available, not to replace live buglers as was implied in the letters the Roundup received.
Mark Maynard, director of the Riverside National Cemetery in California, someone who certainly ought to know, explains it this way: "It's the closest and next best thing to the real thing. A bone of contention with veterans' organizations and families was the sound and tackiness of the military carrying boom boxes to play ‘Taps'."
The basic cause of the problem is the fact that the armed forces have 500 buglers able to play ‘Taps,' but 1,800 veterans die each day.
Tom Day, founder of Bugles Across America, and the others who wrote letters in such bad taste, had no reason, other than self-interest or self-promotion, to insult a man who volunteered his time and energy to pay tribute to one of our fallen brothers. If you would like to contact Tom Day directly and let him know how you feel about his letter, and the others, you can do it by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tom Garrett, Pine