Ten trumpet students at the University of Louisiana-Monroe are volunteering their time to play Taps at veterans’ funerals, and a Longview senior is among them.

Kody Jernigan is a music education major at the University of Louisiana in Monroe and talked with the Associated Press about what it means to be a member of the group Talons for Taps.  He said he's one of several music students to jump at the chance.

The group got its name because the university’s mascot is the Warhawk which pays tribute to a World War II-era airplane of the same name, and the trumpet players are part of an ensemble at UL-Monroe that honors veterans for their sacrifices by playing Taps live at funerals.

Sometimes a recorded version of Taps is played at military funerals, which is allowed by law if the family asks for a service with honors and there is no live brass player available. There's also something called a ceremonial bugle that can be used, and that comes with a chip inside that will play Taps no matter who is actually playing the instrument.  The word is, the artificial version doesn't sound quite as good as the real thing and it's a little tinny.  The live version is the one that produces the goosebumps.



There are a few other groups around the country that have organized to offer the same service.  But if the opportunity arises and you'd like our hometown hero Kody Jernigan to play Taps and honor a veteran, you can contact the school HERE to fill out the request form.

UL-Monroe says on its website "If the family would like, a small honorarium would be greatly appreciated and will go toward the enrichment of the trumpet studio at ULM."

Thanks, Kody (and veterans) for making East Texas proud.

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