Langley musician “Taps” into Veterans Day
— Created November 9, 2022 by Kathy Reed
By Kathy Reed
For those who are able to pause Friday at 11 a.m. to commemorate Veterans Day (recognized at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month), step outside and listen carefully for the sound of “Taps,” to be played simultaneously by buglers across the country.
Local musician Jim Barden, of Langley, will be one of those participating in this event, sponsored by Taps Across America, an organization responsible for the moment of remembrance sounded across the country on Memorial Day.
“This Veteran’s Day performance will follow the same program expected of our past of Memorial Day performances,” Barden told Whidbey Weekly via email. “Namely, playing a slower version of Taps, played in unison with hundreds (maybe thousands this year) of fellow buglers across our great nation. The official Taps across America website (tapsacrossamerica.org) states there are now over 10,000 buglers committed to playing ‘Taps’ across this great country of ours.”
This is the first time “Taps” will be played across the country for Veterans Day, but there is no official ceremony to mark Barden’s playing of “Taps.” He has lived on Whidbey Island since 2014 and said he and his “soul partner,” Sandy, have installed a flagpole on their property, where he will sound his tribute.
“My address is not provided because it is my desire to play anonymously with the hope to be heard as if listening to a lone bugler in a field of fallen soldiers, and not as an event which creates a crowd to attend,” he explained.
Barden, who has been playing the trumpet since he was 6 years old, is a longtime participant in the Memorial Day Taps Across America tribute, having been a part of it since the beginning.
“Someone from my past must have submitted my name to them, for I was contacted out of the blue to join their group when they first formed,” he said. “I am retired and volunteer my time to do the most good I can while I am still alive and able to. I am proud to have been asked and to play for such a great cause.
“Taps” is traditionally played on a bugle, but other instruments can also be used, quite often a trumpet, which differs from a bugle only in terms of the valves a trumpet has.
“This year ‘Taps’ will sound different from me, perhaps better, for it will be played on my newly-acquired flugelhorn, which should provide a beautiful mellow tonal sound as it carries across a pasture and farmer’s field I play in front of,” Barden said.
He has a suggestion for anyone who wishes to “tune in” to the music Friday morning.
“Stay still where you are at 11 a.m. on November 11th, with closed eyes and an open mind, meditating on the silence, while listening intently for the sound of a bugle, any bugle, in the distance,” he said. “Some will hear one, no doubt, and some will think they did. No matter, for what is most important is not what is heard, but what is done in remembrance of what was sacrificed by the few for the many.”
Taps Across America is sponsored by Taps for Veterans, an organization dedicated to finding live buglers for funerals and memorial services. Learn more at tapsacrossamerica.org or tapsforveterans.org.
“Listen intently for the notes of a lone bugler playing ‘Taps’ in your area for the fallen,” said Barden. “I will play the loudest I can that morning for all to hear.”