Bugler sounds taps for the 1,000th time at World War I Memorial on Presidents Day

Published: 13 February 2024

By Linda F. Hershey
via the Stars and Stripes newspaper website

Taps Bugler

The Doughboy Foundation is a nonprofit that will recognize the 1,000th sounding of taps at the World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Presidents Day. (Jari Villanueva)

WASHINGTON — Every day a lone bugler stands at the World War I Memorial across the plaza from a statue of Army Gen. John Pershing.

The bugler salutes the American flag, lifts a simple brass instrument without valves or keys, and sounds the 24 distinctive notes of taps — the universal call sounded at dusk at U.S. military installations across the world.

“The taps bugle call is what unites every American soldier,” said Jari Villanueva, an Air Force veteran and director of the nonprofit Doughboy Foundation, which supports the daily taps program.

To commemorate Presidents Day on Monday, the foundation recognized the 1,000th time that taps is performed since the memorial opened three years ago at 1400 Pennsylvania Ave. across from the White House visitor center.

Guest bugler was Kevin Paul, an active-duty trumpeter and senior musician with the Army Band in Washington. Paul, a sergeant first class, has played at Arlington National Cemetery, the White House and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

He also serves as operations manager for the Doughboy Foundation helping to coordinate the daily taps calls at the World War I Memorial.

The AEF band — named after the American Expeditionary Forces — will participate Monday in World War I uniforms.

The memorial is owned by the National Park Service. The space where it was built incorporated an existing statue of Pershing, who led the American Expeditionary Forces across Europe during the war.

“When America threw itself into preparing for conflict, Pershing was named the commander,” said Villanueva, who sounded the first daily taps at the memorial on May 24 2021.

Villanueva will be guest speaker at Monday’s event. He will note the significance of the event in brief remarks prior to the sounding of taps at 5 p.m.

A ceremonial trumpeter, Villanueva served for nearly 25 years in Washington. He has participated in more than 5,000 funerals and other occasions at Arlington National Cemetery and other sites. He served from 1985-2008 at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling.

Though the distinctive taps melody originated with the Civil War, the daily 5 p.m. call at the memorial honors all American service members and their loved ones, according to the Doughboy Foundation.

Villanueva organized the corps of buglers tapped to honor U.S. service members and veterans with the early evening bugle call.

Jari Villanueva, an Air Force veteran and bugler, is director of the Doughboy Foundation, a nonprofit that will recognize the 1,000th sounding of taps at the World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Presidents Day. Buglers dress in replica uniforms at the daily taps call. (Jari Villanueva)

“The thought was let’s have a bugler in World War I uniform pay tribute every day, rain or shine, snow or heat,” said Villanueva, former president of Taps for Veterans, a nonprofit that sent buglers to military funerals.

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