Student plays taps at Arlington Cemetery on Armed Forces Day

May 23, 2012
  • Smithsburg High School sophomore Nathaniel Laye was among 150 buglers and trumpeters who played taps at Arlington National Cemetery on May 19, Armed Forces Day.
Submitted photo

Nathaniel Laye, a sophomore at Smithsburg High School, was selected as one of the 150 buglers and trumpeters to play at Arlington National Cemetery on Armed Forces Day on May 19.

His name was submitted by Chip Stickler of Hagerstown, who teaches Nathaniel trumpet, guitar and drums.

Taps 150, Bugles Across America and Arlington National Cemetery joined together to commemorate the 150th anniversary of taps, the nation’s song of remembrance with a formal ceremony at Arlington.

It also included special music by the Maryland National Guard Honor Guard Trumpets and the Maryland Defense Force Band, and speakers Kathryn A. Condon, executive director of Arlington National Cemetery, Thomas Day, founder of Bugles Across America, and Jari Villanueva, president of Taps 150.

The massed rendition of taps was conducted by Col. Larry Lang, conductor of the U.S. Air Force Band.

The 150 buglers and trumpeters came from all over the United States to take part in this once-in-a-lifetime experience of sounding taps in America’s most sacred shrine.


The musicians, all wearing uniforms, included firefighters, police officers, military personnel, Civil War re-enactors, high school students, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and other volunteers, including one World War II veteran.

The musicians believe that a live sounding of taps is not only appropriate but deserved and even indispensable for those who have served our nation in uniform.

After the ceremony, taps was sounded by the 150 musicians who moved to various locations throughout Arlington.

Nathaniel played taps at the graveside of Frank Witchy, the first bugler who played at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Nathaniel played taps at the Veterans Ceremony in Smithsburg in November 2009, and at the Memorial Day program at Rest Haven in 2010 and 2011 and will play this year on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28.

Nathaniel’s mother, Bobby Jo, step-father, Tim, and sister, Riley, live in Smithsburg. His father, Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Laye, who has served in the military for more than 21 years, lives in Missouri.

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