Eighth-grader Matt Winkle admits that he is a little nervous about performing the trumpet solo “Taps” at the Veterans Day ceremony on Tuesday.
But the patriotic young musician from Hood River Middle School is also excited about the opportunity to honor the men and women who have served in the military.
“I don’t really plan to look into any of their eyes because then I will get really nervous. I am just going to try to concentrate on what I am doing,” said Winkle, who has three years’ of experience on his chosen instrument.
Winkle, the son of Paige Browning and Steve Winkle, said the Nov. 11 memorial service for members of the Armed Forces will be the first of its type that he has attended.
And broadening the background of students is the reason why Alan Taylor, his band teacher, advocates for their involvement in community activities.
“They get to realize there’s something more than just what they do at school,” Taylor said. “Taps is not just a song or a little melody, it represents so much to the veterans and Matt will have the opportunity to see that.”
Meanwhile, Winkle plans to spend the next several days practicing for his public debut. He believes it is an honor that he beat out two other classmates for the star role of playing the bugle song adopted by the Army in 1874. Taps was intended to serve as both a signal to military personnel that the day had ended and a goodbye to a fallen comrade.
Hood River will hold its annual Veteran’s Day ceremony at Overlook Memorial Park on Tuesday.
The event begins at 11 a.m. with a welcome by Linda Adams, county veterans’ service officer, who will act as mistress of ceremonies. A low-level flyover is expected about that same time from the Oregon National Guard 142nd Fighter Interceptor Group.
Adams will then formally recognize American Legion Post 22, Veteran of Foreign War Post 1479, and auxiliaries from both units. She will lead the Pledge of Allegiance before Sgt. William Smith of the Guard takes the podium to sing the National Anthem.
He will return to speak about civilian responsibility following an invocation by Pastor Dan Armstrong and the dedication of new memorial bricks for the park by City Manager Lynn Guenther.
After Smith concludes his remarks Legion Auxiliary President Leila Crapper will present “Blue Star Mothers’ banners to military parents.
She will be assisted in that task by Legion Commander Dennis Leonard, who will brief the audience about the “Eternal Light” memorial that symbolizes the final resting place of soldiers.
Guard members from the Hood River Armory will provide a rifle salute to commemorate the sacrifices made by members of the Armed Forces for their country. The 2003 ceremony will close with the trumpet solo “Taps” played by Matt Winkle and a final address by Adams.