Some still ask, “What is Bugles Across America?”
At the end of 1999, Congress passed a law that said every veteran — meaning anyone who has worn the the uniform of the United states and received an Honorable Discharge — can have a military funeral. The military would supply at least two uniformed personnel to fold and present the American flag.
Since the military only has about 500 players to sound Taps, it could only send a live bugler when available. They said most would receive a recorded musical message since there are no more people playing bugles.
Tom Day, a long-time drum and bugle corps member and former Marine, took exception to this and said he would find “live” players to play “live” Taps. He started Bugles Across America in 2000, with himself as the first player, and by the end of the first year he had 300!
One was Col. Truman W. Crawford, former director of the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, “The Commandant’s Own.”
Moving to 2010, BAA now has over 7,400 players in every state and many foreign countries. Men and women of all age, race, creed and color. A good percentage are former drum corps and band players.
On November 11, 2009, U.S. Today quoted Mark Ward of the Pentagon saying that BAA is now doing 31% of all military funerals across the country.
BAA has been featured on every TV and radio network. The organization has helped sponsor the Anaheim Kingsmen Alumni Corps, the Cavaliers Alumni Corps, the Colts, Sun Devils, Knightfire and the Elks Sr. Corps from Baker, OR.
The non-profit organization has also given away over 600 horns free! The Getzen Co. from Elkhorn, WI, makes a special bugle for them. Getzen was the primary manufacturer of G bugles for the drum and bugle corps activity throughout the 1950s, the 1960s and into the 1970s.
Bugles Across America has established volunteer units at various national veteran cemeteries. They designed a special flag for the Gold Star moms and do much more to bring back a word that was almost forgotten — the “bugle.” Of course, the instrument has a long history of association with the North American drum and bugle corps activity since the 1800s, and especially beginning in 1921 when the American Legion held the first organized competition at their annual convention in Kansas City.
BAA has more than 10 university and college music programs involved and members use bugles, trumpets, cornets, flugle horns and sometimes a baritone here and there.
There are openings in all parts of the country and they also have DVDs available .