Taps for taps

In West Fargo, N.D., it seems less likely that you’ll hear the plaintive echoes of taps, at least from a real, live bugler.

The VFW there purchased a $1,000 “digital bugle,” putting 23-year-old bugler Alex Davis out of a “job,” though I imagine she doesn’t do it for the $20 honorarium. Davis, who is visually impaired, said she plays because it’s “the only way I could serve.”

From the Forum in Fargo:

Davis belongs to Bugles Across America, a network of volunteers who believe veterans deserve a live rendition of taps.

“We, as a corps, believe that fake taps is stolen dignity,” she said.

Russell Berg, commander of VFW Post 7564 told the Forum the decision to switch came about in a shuffle in the club’s leadership.

I harbor personal feelings toward this story, having played taps at Memorial Day services and military funerals throughout high school. It was a great honor to be asked to play, and to me it seems that a “digital bugle” would lack in comparison to the sound of a real horn.

Though, my story is also a reflection of the current situation; I haven’t played taps at a funeral in a long time.

Congress approved playing recordings of taps at military funerals in 2000 because of a shortage of active buglers.

Update: MPR’s Tom Weber covered a similar story on the digital bugle (audio link) while he was working for KWMU in St. Louis.