|American Legion Field Allen Post 148 in Windham|
has purchased a digital bugle that can be used to
play 'Taps' and other music during ceremonies and
other patriotic events involving veterans.
In Maine and, especially in Windham, there is a deep love for those who have served in the military. We honor those who have fought for our country in various ways including holidays, special ceremonies and even discounts at some stores. There are even community centers and posts created to help service local veterans in various aspects and these veteran centers are a great addition to any community, but our own local post has some exciting news.
The American Legion Field-Allen Post 148, located behind Hannaford in Windham, has been chartered since the 1930s and it's goal has been to provide to local veterans, whether that be a hot meal, activities or simple social gatherings. The post also performs funeral and other ceremonies for veterans, with the Color Guard and Honor Guard teams.
After each ceremony, the final song that is played is “Taps,” a song created by Union General Daniel Butterfield in July 1862. The story is that Butterfield asked his bugle player, Oliver Norton, to help compose a piece. The somber and longer notes of “Taps” are said to reflect on Butterfield's mood after over 600 of his men were killed after the Battle of Gaines Mill.
“Taps” is a very important song to play, the piece being a tradition for any form of military. To this day, it is performed throughout the country during ceremonies to honor our veterans with its beautiful, striking notes. It is also tradition to have this song played specifically on a bugle, which can lead to a small problem.
American Legion Field Allen Post 148 in Windham has purchased a digital bugle that can be used to play ‘Taps’ and other music during ceremonies and other patriotic events involving veterans.
Bugle players are very hard to come by these days, so the post always had to have someone from the community play the instrument for them. David Tanguay, a member of the Post for 26 years and currently the post's adjutant, said a number of players have worked with them over the years.
"Over the period, the post has relied on a few outside sources to provide this honor including the Boy Scouts, Windham High School Band members, an organization called Bugles Across Maine (America) and the respective military service personnel when they are available."
Due to a lack of bugle players among post members, the organization has always had to outsource. Sometimes schedules do not always align, making gaps in where they needed a bugle player for events. To combat this, the post had been using a recording of “Taps” at the end of ceremonies.
However, the recording was less than ideal for the post.
"At the May 2020 small Memorial Day ceremony at the WVC there was not a bugler available," Tanguay said. "Likewise, during the November Veterans Day Ceremony held at the WVC, the plan for the Veterans Day event was to use a tape recording of ‘Taps’ at the ceremony’s conclusion after the rifle salute. Unfortunately, the equipment used for the sound system faltered and the ceremony ended on a sour note, so to speak. "
Tanguay said that many people could not hear the final song used to end the ceremony, which was something the post did not want to repeat for upcoming events. Ditching the recording and the sound systems that malfunctioned, they instead took a modern solution to their problem, which was a digital bugle.
A digital bugle is similar to a regular, classic bugle. The only difference is that in the bell-end part of the instrument, there is a digital device with a speaker that can play certain songs without the player having to blow into it.
With a click of a button, the instrument will sound as if the person is playing it themselves. It's an easy solution and, this way, anyone can pick the bugle up and play it like a pro.
From there on, the post raised funds to support the cost of the digital bugle. The choice that the Post went with was “The American Ceremonial Bugle” which is made of nickel and silver, 17 inches, and of course includes the device that plays “Taps” and several other selections. The bugle with the device was $565 and was purchased online.
Tanguay said the importance of the post's digital bugle purchase is how it reflects a sense of independence.
"It is important for the HG to be able to provide a complete service for our fallen vets when the traditional service Honor Guard is not available. The Post Honor Guard can fold and present the American flag, conduct rifle salute and now play ‘Taps.’ The bugle adds to the Honor Guard’s capabilities." <