Bisson: Arizona bugle group performs complimentary Taps at funerals

While we’re celebrating our freedom on Independence Day, let us remember those who have served our country in making it great, and those who are still fighting for our freedoms.

Charlene Bisson

From local community activists to our military men and women, we thank you.

I received a letter from Roger C. Ellis and his wife, Mitzi, thanking Independent Newsmedia’s efforts of showing support by remembering our U.S. troops overseas by wearing red on Fridays.

Mr. Ellis is the State Director for Arizona of Bugles Across America. He asked if we would create community awareness for the volunteer organization that provides a free, live performance of Taps as military honors at funeral services of deceased Armed Forces personnel.

More than 4,000 buglers volunteer for this organization nationwide.

“We are an ‘approved provider’ by the Department of Defense, the Veterans Administration, and all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces,” Mr. Ellis stated. “We also will sound Taps for first responders, and at events such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day remembrances.”

He explained most people are unaware that Taps today is virtually always played using a “Ceremonial Bugle.”

This fake bugle with a CD player stuck in the bell is employed by honor guards from all military branches and Veteran Service Organizations because they do not have qualified musicians to play a real instrument.

“We believe that Taps from a recording is undignified and disrespectful,” he stated. “A live performance comes from the heart, not from batteries and a speaker.”

He explained the Ceremonial Bugle will not play if the batteries are weak, when it’s damp, or if the “on” switch fails.

“Imagine how the mourners at a funeral feel when the recording fails to play at the grave site,” Mr. Ellis added. “Sadly, it happens far too often.”

There are 55 active volunteers in Arizona, and in 2016 and 2017, the organization only received 25 requests each year. Mr. Ellis welcomes more volunteers who can play Taps by signing onto the group’s website. Individuals must be able to play 24 notes respectfully on a bugle, trumpet, cornet or fluglehorn.

“Mitzi and I are working hard to dramatically increase that number,” he stated. “Please help us to do the right thing for our veterans.”

Bugler requests can be entered on Bugles Across America’s website at

Editor’s note: Mrs. Bisson is the Arizona publisher of Independent Newsmedia

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