The uniform is crisp. The brass is polished. This is a time when only the white glove treatment will do.
Bugles Across America says U.S. Air Force veteran Larry Dupree is one of only 300 honor guard musicians certified to play Taps as America lays its servicemen to rest.
"I always say the last name of the veteran before I do the first note of Taps. To me that's a little bit of closure. It kind of brings the whole circle back together again," Dupree explained, as he prepared to play the song during a funeral service at Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati.
The haunting tune is 24 notes long.
The melancholy melody first signaled the day is done at Civil War camps.
The 150-year tradition can’t keep up with the reality of a thousand military burials every day. A decade ago, the department of defense decided to approve the use of digital recordings.
"There's some really unique stories about the digital bugle. I always like to say well I'm not going to fail. I'm going to get through the last note, even if I miss them all," Dupree said.
Rollie Sammons’ family reached out to Dupree when their beloved 90-year-old father passed away on November 4th.
"It was very special to know that there was someone that was able to just come out and provide his services to honor grandpa," said Sammons' granddaughter Regina Watson.
As a Vietnam veteran, Dupree says he is proud to offer a final salute to his brothers in arms.