Thursday, September 20, 2018
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Music that digs deep into the soul

Two military men in crisp blue uniforms complete with white gloves and shiny shoes stood at full attention on either side of the folded flag and golden urn.

Just the sight of the soldiers made me stand up a little straighter.

After the preacher said a few words and read the customary “ashes to ashes …” scripture, the men meticulously and ceremoniously unfolded the star-covered blue triangle and re-folded it, carefully flattening each edge and straightening every corner as they worked in rigid movements until the last bit was tucked tight and firm.

The sadness I felt for the loss of a dear friend was suddenly replaced with pride. He had served in the Army in his much younger days—one more reason to cherish the memory of a great man.

After handing the flag to the family, the soldiers repositioned themselves next to the urn and gave a salute. From behind me came the most moving 24 notes a bugle can deliver.

Few songs are more easily recognized and none are more apt to render emotion than “Taps.” The melody is both eloquent and haunting.

At first I thought maybe the song was a recording being played on a sound system from the middle of the cemetery. Standing on my tip-toes peering over the crowd, though, I caught sight of the soldier and his shiny horn.

With an accomplished trumpet player living in my house, I’ve heard the notes of “Taps” played countless times.

Never has it touched my heart quite like it did as I bid farewell to the father of the second family I adopted when I was growing up.

Day is done, gone the sun,

From the hills, from the lake, from the sky.

All is well, safely rest,

God is nigh.