After 37 months of existence, "Bugles Across America," a program designed to provide a live musician playing taps at every American veteran's funeral, almost 3,700 musicians have played at more than 37,000 military funerals around the country, according to founder Tom Day. Day founded "Bugles Across America" in 2001 after a 2000 Congressional mandate stated that every veteran funeral include full military honors. The mandate didn't take into account the shortage of military buglers (there are less than 500 in the Defense Department, and most of them are assigned to performing ensembles), which forced families to employ boom boxes to play recorded versions of taps at funerals. DCI.org's Mike Boo stressed the importance of Bugles Across America. "I'd be remiss if the opportunity wasn't seized to once again promote an organization of phenomenal worthiness, Bugles Across America. If you are a bugle and/or trumpet player, please, please, please go on their Web site and sign up to be available to perform "Taps" at the funeral of a veteran. "There is still a critical shortage of bugle players for military funerals, forcing the military to use boom box recordings and digital bugles for "Taps." There have got to be lots of potential "Taps" players among DCI alumni and fans," Boo said. Day, a founder of the Anaheim Kingsmen (the first DCI World Champions), wants to enlist more drum corps musicians to the Bugles Across America cause. "I would like the rest of the drum corps world to know that they are welcome to join our effort," day said. "At least 60 percent of Bugles Across America is of some drum corps or band experience and background. I would like everyone to know that they are welcome, and that we are starting small neighborhood Scout Corps where ever we can. (We) already have one in Greeley, Colo., River Forest, Ill, and soon in New Port Richey, Fla." Day elaborated on his own drum corps background. "Since I've been in drum corps since 1947, and actually followed two older brothers who were also involved, playing the horn and doing memorials with old time drum corps is what we did. In 1950 while in the Norwood Park Cadet corps, I was asked to sound "Taps" for Korean war vets coming home. I never really stopped doing funerals," Day said. Show your support of American servicemen and women by going to the Bugles Across America Web site and signing up to perform "Taps" at the funeral of a veteran.
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