Taps Across America, And Franklin
In response to what many saw as the increasingly commercialized nature of a once solemn holiday, the National Moment of Remembrance was proclaimed in 2000 by Congress as an annual event that asks Americans, wherever they are at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day, (May 29, 2023), to pause for a duration of one minute to remember those who have died in military service to the United States.
Taps Across America was established to further solemnize that moment with the sounding of Taps at 3 p.m., local time, on each Memorial Day. And this year, for the third time, that solemnization will be delivered by local resident, Timothy O’Toole, who has lived in Franklin for 19 years.
O’Toole, who grew up in Millis, said he has been playing brass instruments for 40 years, first in his public schools and then in the Marching Band when he attended UMass Amherst. “After graduation I played with some other groups, including the well-known Compaq Big Band,” (originally founded by employees of Digital Equipment Corporation).
“I played with them until my son was a year old and then a took time off to earn an MBA," he said.
As his boys grew, he became involved in their Scouting activities and decided to become a Bugling Merit Badge Counselor, “and that’s when I learned about Bugles Across America,” a voluntary group that tries to provide a live bugler for every veteran’s funeral.
Although O’Toole himself is not a veteran, many in his extended family have served. ”My father and father in law were both in the Air Force and both of my grandfathers were in the Army during World War II while my wife’s grandfather was in the Merchant Marine,” he said. Additionally, he noted, his grandmother served in the Navy during World War II as a code breaker, “something she was very proud of until the day she died,” he added.
When it comes to all those funerals, “The military doesn’t have enough buglers so most of the time they just play a cassette recording,” he explained. “I understand why they have to do it, but it is offensive, almost like lip-synching the National Anthem,” he added.
That motivated him to get involved. Bugles Across America now has over 4000 bugler volunteers located in all 50 states and growing number overseas and he himself reckons he has played taps at around 50 funerals.
The last two years he has participated in Taps Across America on the Franklin Common and will do so again this coming Monday, at 3 pm. The passion to honor veterans with his musical instrument has also taken him far from home.
Last year, for example, he played taps at the Gettysburg National Cemetery, standing on the spot where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous speech.
Interested in learning more or getting involved? O’Toole shared some websites to reference for the groups that he belongs to if others are interested in getting involved.
the website for Taps Across America 2023 is:
and 100 Nights of Taps at Gettysburg:
I'm also available to perform taps for Veteran's funerals free of charge and other civic events when I'm available to. They can just contact me through my email directly email@example.com or through one of the organization's websites.