Bugles Across America I'm a bit embarrassed to admit this, but I let last Friday slip by without commenting on it being Veterans' Day. Each year that Fanfare has been around, I've used the column closest to Veterans' Day to plug one of my favorite organizations, Bugles Across America. Bugles Across America is a wonderful nonprofit organization that provides buglers to play "Taps" for military funerals free of charge. Tom Day, a former Marine, former marching member of the Cavaliers and co-founder of the Anaheim Kingsmen, founded the organization. Bugles Across America was founded because they aren't enough buglers in the armed forces to play "Taps" for deceased veterans. The Department of Defense has resorted to using a recording of "Taps" either on a CD or a ceremonial bugle, a bugle containing a battery-powered amplified device in the bell of the instrument. The military estimates only 20 percent of military funerals utilize real bugles, and due to the increasing death rate of veterans from World War II and the Korean War, there are now approximately 2,500 military funerals held every week across the country. There are only 500 qualified buglers in the Department of Defense. They just can't do it all. That's where Bugles Across America comes it, but the organization needs the help of all reading this who can play trumpet or soprano bugle. Founded in 2000, Bugles Across America already provides buglers for about 12,000 veteran's funerals every year, up from the 6,000 military honors provided in the organizations first eighteen months. But they could do more with more buglers. Please go to buglesacrossamerica.org and check out what you can do to help out. We all know how drum corps fans are the most caring people there are. Let's prove it by encouraging all who can to sign up with Bugles Across America. A Little personal pride My own father, Hilmer Boo, is a veteran of two wars, WW II and Korea. Because he left school to work the 80 acres of the family farm and several other farms when his older brother went into the military, he never finished high school. He worked the farms so his younger brothers could finish high school. Saturday, Nov. 19, he will receive his high school diploma, 64 years later. This will take place at the Chesterton (Ind.) High School class of 1941 reunion luncheon. An Indiana state law passed three years ago provides for veterans who didn't finish school to receive their diplomas, giving them credit for the experiences they received in the military. However, dad fell in the cracks as the law was written that one had to have entered the military prior to the scheduled graduation date. But providing food for the nation was also part of national security and he did soon go into the service and was sent to Europe when his brothers finished school and could take over on the farm. He was recalled a few years later and was sent to Korea. And now, after 64 years -- well, I can't even begin to tell you how proud I am of him. The Chesterton School Superintendent and the state representative who took up the cause of getting the law changed to encompass those who were meant to be helped by the law (but still fell through the cracks) will present the diploma. I'm not sure dad fully understood my love affair with drum corps, but he fully supported me in my decision to forgo my summer job so I could march my last three years of eligibility in the Cavaliers, and friends of his told me he could barely stop talking about his pride in seeing me in uniform on the field. Dad is a man of few words, a very quiet man. Knowing he talked about drum corps and wanted others to know about it touched me to no end. Congratulations, dad. And while I'm discussing Bugles Across America and my favorite veteran, I can't think of any better way to pay a belated tribute to those in uniform than to rerun part of a column from Nov. 15, 2002, originally titled, "A Cadence of Strength." Sgt. 1st Class Timothy L. Tilley, United States Army, submitted this timeless gem. Enjoy -- and sign up for Bugles Across America if you play an upper brass instrument. And now, from Sgt. Tllley: A Cadence of strength Michael, I believe that my involvement with Spirit of Atlanta and other corps as a staff member has made me the soldier and husband, father and servant that I am today. It struck me the other day as I listened to the 2002 DCI top 21 CDs for the first time that I have listened to a lot of drum corps for a lot of reasons, in quite a few places around the world. I wanted to share this with you in hopes that you could share it through your column -- just another person's way of explaining the fire that burns within the drum corps fan's heart for the activity and the love that we all share for it. Listening. I have listened to drum corps as a student -- a young man trying to find what music was all about in my band room -- watching the 1983 finals and sitting in a simple state of awe, transfixed by what was happening on the screen in front of me and a band director with a grin on his face. I guess he was thinking that he had indeed snared another fan for the drum corps fantasy. I watched the show from my 7th row seat in Atlanta, and thought that I was ready to go to heaven -- how could it get any better? I didn't sleep that night. The memories of the power and glory that is corps kept me from slowing down for what must have been a month. I said while leaving the stadium, "I will march with that corps." I played the first time with a corps, in the arc, and I cried from the feeling that I had. Not a bad feeling -- a happy, transformed feeling that I had been musically reborn. I marched my first show in New York and felt like I had really accomplished one of the greatest feats of my life -- marching with a drum corps. I listened to my cassette of my corps crouched beside my bunk at Army basic training, thinking, "Why are all these people complaining? Why is he crying? Why is he homesick? This is only eight weeks, I marched an entire summer working harder than this!" I listened from my barracks room in Germany and found that with those headphones on, I was transported right back home to a place that made me not miss mom and dad so much. I could remember my dad standing in the tunnel of the Iron Bowl in Birmingham, Ala., as I marched off the field. I grew about two inches instantly just knowing that he saw me there. I listened to a patriotic show in a foxhole on the first day of the ground war in Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm. I felt like a real American. I don't need to tell you what was one of the top items on the list that I was willing to fight and die for, do I? I defended freedom and did it thinking that I was helping another young man or woman fulfill their dream of marching in a drum corps. I fought for our activity. I fought for the opportunity of every kid in school to pick up a horn and play, to participate in the same amazing activity that had shown me what working hard and doing the right thing was. I listen and watch now from my barracks, again, 8 km from the Demilitarized Zone in South Korea. I hear strains of freedom and America in the music that our best and brightest youth create on football fields across the country every summer. I hear opportunity at every level of musicianship for another kid to have the chance that I did to march. I feel honored to have been a part of the activity, but what makes me especially happy is that when I go to work I can honor drum corps by applying the very same principles, work ethic, and accomplishment that I learned was possible in drum corps to my job as a soldier. I hear commitment. I hear devotion. I hear a nation's freedom beating a cadence of strength in a time where strength and freedom are in question all over the globe. Do you hear it? Sergeant 1st Class Timothy L. Tilley, United States Army
Delta Troop, 4th Squadron-7th Cavalry Regiment
2nd Infantry Division, Republic of Korea
(NOTE: Sgt. Tilley is currently stationed stateside) Spirit of Atlanta, member, 1988
Spirit of Atlanta, support staff, 1993-1994
Carolina Crown, visual staff, 1995-1997
Michael Boo has been involved with drum and bugle corps since 1975, when he marched his first of three seasons with the Cavaliers.

He has a bachelor's degree in music education and a master's degree in music theory and composition.
He has written about the drum corps activity for over a quarter century for publications such as Drum Corps World, and presently is involved in a variety of projects for Drum Corps International, including souvenir program books, CD liner notes, DCI Update and Web articles, and other endeavors. Michael currently writes music for a variety of idioms, is a church handbell and vocal choir director, an assistant director of a community band, and a licensed Realtor in the state of Indiana. His other writing projects are for numerous publications, and he has published an honors-winning book on the history of figure skating. His hobbies include TaeKwonDo and hiking the Indiana Dunes. But more than anything, Michael is proud to love drum corps and to be a part of the activity in some small way, chronicling various facets of each season for the enjoyment of others.