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In Memoriam: Two for the Troops

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One by
one by
one by one
by one,
eight hundred
sixty-six individual
of "Taps" reverberated
in a cascade played
by trumpeters, buglers
and other horn players
who tapped out
the 24-note refrain.

From a circle of wind-whipped American flags
at the center of Woodlawn National Cemetery's heart,
41 miles to the National Cemetery at Bath
and 2900 white-stoned Confederate P.O.W. graves
it started

down Routes 415 and 352 it went
echoing the sad fact that "Taps",
which has sent
thousands of vets
to their eternal rest,
has not been played
at recent military funerals
which expresses
the shortage of buglers available to play,
but no shortage of American soldiers who've paid
the ultimate price for their patriotism.
"Echo Taps" respectfully
redressed this omission.

Following the final
of the final salute
866 horns glistening
in the sun
in simultaneous tribute,


Syracuse Post-Standard, Sunday, May 22, 2005  "41 Miles of Echoed 'Taps'
Armed Forces event stretches from Elmira to Bath" 

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"The idea for Echo Taps, was the result of two buglers, Les Hampton and Gerald McDonald, joking with each other.  'They had come to Bath to play for a funeral and later got talking,' said Wesley Jones, director of Bath/Woodlawn National Cemeteries.  'They said,' What about a mile of buglers?  What about two miles?'"

 Mass Production

Records confirm C-141 Starlifters
ascend from Ramstein on well-timed flights
arriving ten hours later at Dover Airbase
under cover --------------- of the night.

There will be no national day of mourning.
The Capitol will not dim its lights
to show respect for almost 4300 returned
under cover --------------- of the night.

Stricken citizens will not line a cortege route
as flag-draped coffins proceed for interment
past a full-dress military honor guard
to the embrace of Arlington's earth.

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No lone bugler well bid them rest well with "Taps".
They will receive no twenty-one gun salute.
It is presidential policy not to attend
the military funerals of our fallen youth.

There is no public visitation
of our fallen fighters in repose.
They are honored only by survivors
who are left to grieve alone.

Parents ask no elaborate state funerals,
but only the public recognition
that America acknowledges and values
the sacrifice of their beloved children.

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Vi's works appear widely both in print and online. She conducts Poetry Workshops and gives readings in Central New York. Her latest chapbook is "Sine Qua Non Antiques (an Arcanum of History, Geography and Treachery).

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