• Last modified 5595 days ago (Feb. 21, 2009)
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Haunting sounds

Haunting sounds

Haunting sounds

     Just now noticed that today is the 55th anniversary of the beginning of the Ardennes offensive, better known as the "Battle of the Bulge." While I wasn't there, I sympathize with and admire those of you who were. Your deeds are known to history, and well they should be. Yours is a tradition of valor, and should be remembered as such forever.

     I read with interest the articles concerning "Taps" in the latest edition of the Checkerboard, and can't help but think of all the conflicting stories about the subject over the years. I'm in no position to confirm or deny any of the various stories, nor do I wish to, as the truth may never be known for certain. However, I take exception to the way it is played today. Without fail, there are notes I never heard by the buglers of long ago.

     During the last five months of 1940, I was on detached duty with the 7th Division at the Presidio of Monterey in California and old Camp Ord. Camp Ord was later to be known as the East Garrison of Ft. Ord. The division was commanded at the time by General "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell, and was later to be designated the 7th Infantry Division. At least part of the 11th Cavalry was in the Presidio, and they had a band, including fantastic buglers.

     "Taps" was played every night by these men, one of them playing it first, with another playing echo. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard, and it was done by live buglers. Later, in other posts, it was played over a PA system, and lost some of its charm, but was still lovely. This later evolved into a recording played over the PA system, and was never the same.

     I suppose progress is inevitable, but some aspects of it I sincerely despise. Many times at sporting events someone tries to sing our National Anthem. I say tries, because many of them do so in their notion of style, totally ignoring the way it was originally written. Also, very few of the people attending these events bother to stand with hands over their hearts and show respect for our anthem and/or flag. I can only believe that this is because too many of our "leaders" never display respect for the nation and people.

     Call be a dinosaur if you will, but I miss the sounds of a bugle on a clear night, and the whistle of the old steam locomotive.

Vern Henderson L/394

1194 Chiquita Rd.

Healdsburg CA 95448-9687