Gerald A. Pallesen, an 81-year member of American Legion Wasmer Post 241 in Le Mars, sounded "Taps" for the first time in 1943.Read about more members of this Legion Post at Local Legion preserves honor of military funerals
Pallesen, of Marcus, started playing trumpet in the marching band in the seventh grade.
He perfected those skills in the military. Pallesen is a World War II veteran.
Now he travels where he's needed and plays "Taps" at military funerals.
In Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska he's played at 122 and traveled more than 14,000 miles, Pallesen said.
"I consider it a distinct privilege to participate in honoring our true heroes, all those who have served honorably in our Armed Forces," Pallesen said.
He's also one of more than 5,000 bugler volunteers with Bugles Across America, formed in 2000. The group has buglers in all 50 states and a growing number overseas.
The organization's intent is to have enough volunteer buglers to provide a live rendition of "Taps" at all veteran's military funerals, according to Bugles Across America.
The Legion honored my father at his funeral and I remember those words: "In honor of our fallen comrade...". My son played Taps for his grandfather later, in private, with me at his side. It was his final gift that we shared, as the youngest son and youngest grandson, it was my privilege to have been a part of that.