At a Memorial Day weekend ceremony in Wheaton, the founder of an organization that recruits volunteers to play "Taps" at veterans' ceremonies and funerals will speak to highlight the 150th anniversary of the historic military call.
DuPage County will host its Memorial Day 2012 ceremony in Wheaton at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 27, at the DuPage County Government Complex, 421 County Farm Road, Wheaton.
Guest speaker Tom Day, founder of the not-for-profit organization Bugles Across America will highlight the 150th anniversary of "Taps" at the memorial commemorating DuPage County residents killed in military conflicts at home and abroad, beginning with the Black Hawk War in 1832, according to a press release from DuPage County.
Wheaton City Councilman Tom Mouhelis, a retired Major of the U.S. Air Force, said "Taps" signifies a "final closure of service."
Day, a Berwyn resident, formed Bugles Across America in 2000. The organization has recruited more than 7,500 volunteers to play “Taps” at more than 3,000 veterans’ ceremonies and funerals each month, according to the release. Sunday, Day will provide a history of “Taps” and discuss the importance of the song to veterans and their families. He recently played the call at President Howard Taft's grave at a May 19 "Taps" commemoration at Arlington National Cemetary, according to the U.S. Air Force website.
"(It's the) one song that brings tears (to) my eyes," said Mouhelis, who has conducted four funerals as the Officer in Charge.
"It's one of the most respectful... and yet again moving trumpet songs that was ever created. It's a way of honoring men and women who have worn the uniform in a final manner," he said.
DuPage County Board Member Dirk Enger (District 6), who served in the U.S. Marine Corps. and now serves as one of the directors of the DuPage Veterans' Memorial, Inc. said in a statement, "Memorial Day allows us to gather as a community to remember and honor those who have died in service in this nation. The sacrifices of America's fallen heroes will never be forgotten."
The ceremony will take place at the Veterans Memorial, located outside, near the pond on the DuPage County Government Complex, 421 N. County Farm Road, Wheaton.
The Memorial Day ceremony schedule includes the following:
- Motorcycle Ride for American Military—Warriors Watch Riders
- Master of Ceremonies—Dirk Enger, Director - DuPage Veterans Memorial, Inc.
- Posting of Colors—Marine Corps League Detachment 399, Wheaton
- “National Anthem”—Pastor Jim and Kathy Rahtjen, Glenfield Baptist Church, Glen Ellyn
- Pledge of Allegiance—Terry Owens, President, DuPage Veterans Memorial, Inc.
- Invocation—Charles Scheckel, Chaplain, Leon Richardt VFW Post 6791, West Chicago
- Featured Speaker—Tom Day, Founder, Bugles Across America
- Reflections—Ken Jacobs, Director, DuPage Veterans Memorial, Inc.
- Wreath Laying and Gold Star Families, and Pastor Jim & Kathy Rahtjen, “Battle Hymn of the Republic”
- Weapons Salute—Marine Corps League Detachment 399, Wheaton
- “Taps”—Gene Vanden Bosch, Bugles Across America
- “Amazing Grace”—Bill Martersteck, Tunes of Glory Piper, Warrenville
- “God Bless America”—Pastor Jim and Kathy Rahtjen, Glenfield Baptist Church, Glen Ellyn
- Retire the Colors—Marine Corps Detachment 399, Wheaton
- Armed Forces Medley—Bill Martersteck, Tunes of Glory Piper, Warrenville
DuPage County offices will be closed in observance of Memorial Day on Monday, May 28. County departments and services will reopen Tuesday, May 29.