Digital Taps at United States Veterans’ Final Honors, Our Service Members Deserve Better!

It was an extremely emotional event I performed for this afternoon. The person I helped honor today when I performed as a bagpiper was an amazing Navy man. He loved his country and served his community so much. I could feel the love his family had for him. I performed a few pieces at the beginning before the service started. Then came the hardest part for me. They folded the flag and gave it to the widow, but what got to me was, they had a digital bugle to play Taps for him. I just wanted to cry right then and there. It is not right. This amazing inspiring veteran sacrificed so much for our country and all they could do was have someone in uniform stand there and press a button? I need to change this somehow. I can not just sit around and let these service members be honored like this. My organization the American Federation of Musicians needs to stand up and fight for the honor these brave veterans deserve. The only thing that made the day better was knowing that at the end of his military honors I was there to perform Amazing Grace for him. I just wish I could have done more. I wanted to take that fake bugle and throw it somewhere far away. I take this day and take the frustration I have and put it into changing this for our veterans to ensure they have a live bugler, no recordings at their last honors. It is the least I can do for those that have done so much for me.
The military is a huge part of my family. I have a grandfather who is a retired Air Force Major. I also performed as an honor guard bugler for two years in North Dakota and know how much honor and dignity live music brings to the veteran and his or her family.
Please sign the following petition and tell the United States Department of Defense that we want our veterans to have the honors they deserve with live music at their final honors.

Vegetarian Spanish Rice

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2/3 cup Amy’s Organic Salsa (or one of your choice)
1 cup long grain white rice
1 3/4 cup water
Note if you have a rice cooker just throw this all in.
Directions: Heat Oil in a sauce pan. Add salsa and simmer for 1 minute. Add rice and water. Bring to a boil. Immediately lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Stir and serve.