DEEPHAVEN, Minn. (WCCO) — Silver plated or brass, Rob Severson’s been tooting a horn since he was just a kid.

“It’s easy notes, 24 notes. The tough part is hitting each one head on,” Severson said.

But the military bugle call, taps, is one tune that brings out his serious side. It’s an unmistakable melody played with purpose.

In cemeteries large and small, Severson and his bugle sound the final farewell — a solemn tribute to fallen military veterans.

“It’s a way to contribute and I recognize that the families love it,” Severson said.

The evening of July 16, however, will bring Severson’s highest honor yet. That’s when he’s been selected to perform taps live at Gettysburg National Cemetery.

“Gettysburg is as close to hallowed ground to serious people as you can get,” Severson said.

For 100 nights, from Memorial Day through Labor Day, Gettysburg picks a different bugler to perform each night. Each bugler’s 24 perfect notes honor our Civil War’s costliest sacrifice.

“Taps is something I can do for someone; they don’t have to ask, don’t have to say thank you,” Severson said. “I can walk away when I’m done, that’s what I usually do, and I know I’ve lessened the burden of someone’s passing.”

No matter the cemetery, the honor and gratitude are the same. One man’s patriotic calling, played from the heart.

With exception of national cemeteries like Fort Snelling, Severson says there’s a shortage of buglers to perform at many private burials across the nation.

The organizations “Taps for Veterans” and “Bugles Across America” try to fill that need.

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Bill Hudson