Retiree Learns "Taps" To Honor Fallen Veterans

For most Americans, Memorial Day comes once a year in May, but not for Gary ­Marquardt of Minnesota.

The 66-year-old had enlisted in the military when he was a young man and expected to go to Vietnam, but a bleeding ulcer deemed him unfit to serve. So instead, he's serving now -- as a trumpeter.

Gary is not really a musician. In fact, he only knows one song -- "Taps."

Five years ago, Gary attended the funeral of a military friend and was sad to hear a recording of "Taps" played instead of a live trumpeter or bugler. He thought a fallen military veteran deserved better.

So, with no prior trumpeting experience, Gary walked into a music store and bought a trumpet for the sole purpose of learning how to play "Taps."

He practiced day and night for years, much to the dismay of his family and neighbors. But eventually he learned it and now visits the graves of fallen military vets almost daily and honors them with a performance of "Taps." He also volunteers to play "Taps" at military funerals. (Star Tribune)

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