I was dismayed and disgusted to read the four letters from various officials from the Bugles Across America in the June 1 issue of the Roundup, lambasting the Payson Honor Guard for using a digital bugle. The letters from these officials were from Rhode Island, Florida, Missouri and Pennsylvania; none from the State of Arizona and certainly not from the Town of Payson.
Congress has passed legislation stating that all veterans have a right to have at least two uniformed military people to attend them at their last rite, one to fold the flag and one to play "Taps" on a CD player (emphasis mine). The Bugles Across America organization wanted to take "Taps" a step further by playing a live rendition of "Taps" by a live bugler, and that's a wonderful thought, but impractical in a community the size of Payson.
According to the Bugles Across America Web site, there are currently only 5,000 bugler volunteers located all over the world who have volunteered to play live "Taps." The Department of Veterans Affairs is expecting more than 500,000 veterans to pass each year (again, emphasis mine) for the next seven years.
Since Jan. 1, 2007 through May 31, 2007 the Payson Honor Guard has performed at 23 funerals in the Payson area. They provide a dignified, stately, emotional ceremony to honor the deceased veteran for the service provided to his/her country. If a town the size of Payson had to rely on a live bugler to play "Taps," the families of these veterans would not have been privy to the last rites that Congress had intended.
We in the Payson area are blessed that the Payson Honor Guard volunteers their time to participate in our veterans' funerals. They practice weekly, purchase their own dress uniforms, keep their uniforms clean at their own expense, and attend funerals in all kinds of weather. Frequently, 12 or more members of the Honor Guard attend each funeral, representing all five branches of the armed forces. They welcome any veteran who wishes to join this august body, and, that includes, I am sure, a live bugler registered with Bugles Across America! Anyone reading this and is interested in finding out more should contact the American Legion Post Commander.
Valerie L. Sullivan, Ed.D., Mogollon Chapter, NSDAR, Mountain Meadows Memorial Lady