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Stew Boone Had His Day

Mostly Malarkey

Stew Boone Had His Day

     Stewart Boone, Sv/924, is the official bugler of the 99th Infantry Division. He has blown his horn at numerous conventions and taken it on tours to Europe. Stew is always ready and willing to lend his talents to make the occasion more patriotic with music.

     Stew and your Ol' Editor share experiences from World War II, having been members of artillery service batteries billeted in the same small Belgian village early one December morning when German tanks overran the position. Both were able to survive. Stew's unit of 68 had but 11 escape. They call themselves "the lucky eleven."

     For years Stew, a public relations executive, brought the Kansas Water Well Drillers to Marion for conventions. Garden City is 212 miles west of Marion (not a great distance on the plains of Kansas). The group enjoyed golf at Marion Country Club, held hog roasts, and reveled in the friendly small town hospitality. Marion is in the center of Kansas. I was proud to tell local folks that Stew and I are friends.

     Stew is a talented musician, and often has played his trumpet for various programs at church services in Marion. His sister-in-law and her husband are prosperous local farmers.

     And, of course, Stew and the OE have worked together on tours to Europe and at several conventions where we were on various programs, including the banquet, Checkerboard chorus, and worship services in Kansas City.

     And, he's a St. Louis Cardinals fan. Many Kansans share that leaning. He's followed the Red Birds since the 30s, when he used to listen to them on the radio in his father's gas station at Mulvane, Kansas (south of Marion).

     A guy who couldn't pay for a tank of gas gave Stew's dad an old trumpet, and the rest is history. He and his horn make sweet music.

     Stew has been on some of our 99th Battlefield Tours back to Europe and always brings his horn (not that first one, a much better instrument). Imagine the chills up your spine when you hear Stew play "White Cliffs of Dover" as the ferry pulls away from that port, or sounding a solemn "Taps" across the carefully manicured Belgian sod of an American cemetery where thousands of young men will never grow old.

     He went through college on a music scholarship and made extra spending money playing in dance bands.

     In 1995, during the 50th anniversary convention of Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge, Stew played taps at the memorial ceremony.

     At our Charlotte convention, Stew played a patriotic medley on the trumpet while his triplet granddaughters, mere tykes, waved Old Glory. There wasn't a dry eye in the audience.

     Always a Cardinals fan, in 1988 he was among a group of Garden City business leaders who hosted a few St. Louis baseball super-stars to a golfing weekend. Stew and Stan Musial teamed up on the harmonica and trumpet, and had so much fun that it was suggested Boone would play for a future game in Busch Stadium.

     Years went by and nothing came of it. Now, at 75, Stew was invited to bring his trumpet to the big game on July 2. It was a patriotic tribute, the Independence Day weekend, and Stew was featured, playing "The Star Spangled Banner" to open the Cardinals-Arizona Diamondbacks game.

     Stew had his day. And deserved it.

— Bill Meyer