I certainly appreciated Col. Sahno's June 12 letter to the editor concerning the Payson Honor Guard's participation in the EchoTaps 2007 worldwide event. The intent of this letter is to clarify, and perhaps correct some of the record, but certainly not to attack any person or organization.
First: The EchoTaps 2007 worldwide event was conceived and sponsored jointly, by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Bugles Across America. No military organization was involved. The objectives of the event may be seen by visiting www.echotaps.org.
It is important for everyone to understand that one of the most critical of operational rules of the event required that only live brass players would participate to sound "Taps." It was expected that any individual or organization that wished to participate would honor that rule.
Second: Col. Sahno's information or belief concerning the sounding of "Taps" appears to be somewhat inaccurate, at least as regards the sounding of "Taps" for Military Honors Funeral, Memorial and Wreath ceremonies. He wrote, "There is nothing that I know of that is improper, inappropriate or illegal about using taped music for ceremonial purposes, whether that be a record, cassette tape, compact disc or any other device to project music."
Historically, traditional usage and then formalized military regulations that date back to 1891, indicate the following:
- "Taps" is authorized to be sounded only by a solo military bugler. Only when a military bugler is not available may a civilian bugler be utilized.
- "Taps" is to be sounded only on a bugle, trumpet or cornet, to be played open without muting, and unaccompanied by other instruments
- No other version is authorized
- The performance of "Taps" is authorized for, and limited to, the following occasions: At the end of the military day, one hour after tattoo, military funerals, military memorial services, military wreath ceremonies.
I recognize that the legislation passed in the year 2000 by Congress, modified the above, to a certain extent. That is, it permits the use of recorded media, but only when a bugler cannot be found.
Bugles Across America is a not-for-profit corporation, whose primary mission is to provide qualified buglers to sound "Taps" at Military Honors ceremonies. In Arizona, we have approximately 80 buglers, many of whom are in reasonable travel distance of Payson. We invite any who are in need of a bugler to visit our Web site at www.buglesacrossamerica.org.
David A. Schindler, Asst. State Director, Florida, Bugles Across America, Korean War veteran and bugler
Editor's note: This letter was shortened to fit within the 400-word limit for letters to the editor.