When I was growing up (as if the growing up stage is behind me) I played music with a lot of people. I played at church, played with different bands, played on my own… When I graduated high school I left for boot camp. Not because I had no other options but because it was something I had felt called to from the time I can remember. I even remember having conversations with my grandparents around the age of seven and explaining the reason I wanted to join the United States Marine Corps. I won’t bore you with all of those details (maybe some other time). But one thing I sometimes feel that I missed out on was growing up with other musicians. Every one that I had ever played music with stayed at home and continued to play music with all of our old friends.. some went to college and played music with new friends. I mostly kept my music to myself for quite some time. I simply played how I felt when I was alone. I wrote songs. After not too long it was my turn, along with many of my brothers to deploy. We trained.. a lot! We may have partied pretty hard a lot as well, but we trained! We had workups for workups for training exercises that drove us all to drinking. And every now and then I would break out the guitar, play some covers, maybe sneak in one of my own now and then. We deployed.. and deployed.. and deployed… I was fortunate enough to have my guitar sent over. It was mostly impossible to find any kind of solitude, so sometimes I would sit and write (very quietly) around the other fellas. Sometimes they would pay attention, sometimes they didn’t. Most nights a few of us would sit around and play poker. Other nights we would sit around and sing songs. You could always sense the feeling of the group. Sometimes it was very solemn and dark. Sometimes it was just plain silly. And other times we were all just grasping for a little bit of home. One Christmas we even went tent to tent and door to door singing every Christmas song we could think of. It was awesome and sad at the same time. Music is an incredible thing. It can make you feel what you otherwise could not explain. Music touches your soul. Every U.S. military base plays Taps every night at 10 PM for everyone within earshot to hear. This is played out of respect and to give honor to those men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice for this nation. Not for any other country. For the United States of America. So many of us have such a passion for music. I would encourage you to go to a Memorial Day service at a national cemetery or veteran’s cemetery next Monday and listen when they play Taps. You will be moved. I am often overwhelmed as I hear it. My mind is flooded with the thoughts and memories of so many who never had the chance to say a last farewell to their families. I don’t care how you feel about the political issues of the day. These people deserve our respect, remembrance and honor. Especially this weekend. But it need not be a sad holiday! Let Taps be played.. Honor their memories.. Then celebrate their lives and the freedom they fought to preserve! But let the music move you as the bugler plays…. Respectfully..