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Education Desk: Time Off For Taps

Courtesy of Shannon Bumann

When a member of the military is laid to rest, the funeral traditionally concludes with three volley shots and the playing of "Taps" -- a bugle call that dates back to the Civil War. But finding a musician available to perform on short notice can be a challenge.

A  student in Woodhull, Illinois, about 20 miles north of Galesburg, inspired legislation that could make it easier. 

Jack Bumann is a senior at Alwood Middle-High School. He persuaded State Rep. Don Moffitt, a Republican from Gilson, to sponsor a bill that would grant middle or high school trumpet players an excused absence if they’re providing a fallen soldier with a proper send-off.

Bumann estimates he’s performed Taps at a couple dozen funerals.

“I just tend to take it nice and slow and let it just last and give them the full experience of the true 'Taps' being played,” he says. “It really, it hits you when you hear it. You realize what it means and how many times it’s been played for how many different people, and it's just part of the nation’s history, I guess.”

The legislation was unanimously approved in the House, and now moves on to the Illinois Senate.


After a long career in newspapers (Dallas Observer, The Dallas Morning News, Anchorage Daily News, Illinois Times), Dusty returned to school to get a master's degree in multimedia journalism. She began work as Education Desk reporter at NPR Illinois in September 2014.
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