Many times people ask what the best part of my job is. Without a doubt, it is when I am called to play Taps. We don’t do it as often as you may think, and when we do, there is a rotation that happens at work between myself and the other trumpet players. Today was my turn. A Senior Airman from Beale AFB – that’s all I knew about him – and often, that is more than I usually know. I show up, get into position before the family arrives, standby, sound Taps, and then depart with the Honor Guard. I’m usually gone before the ceremony is completely over.
Today was a little different. The San Joaquin National Cemetary is about 2 and a half hours away from Travis AFB. The funeral is at 2pm, so I pick up a government van at 1030 and make the long drive down. As soon as I arrive, I check in with the Honor Guard NCOIC and he tells me “Lets give him what he deserves.”
It’s often the most difficult part of the job as well. Stand around for up to an hour, and then play one of the most solemn set of notes you will ever play. It’s powerful. It makes people cry. It makes people proud.