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Herriman High Trumpet Player Honors Fallen Soldiers With ‘Taps’

HERRIMAN, Utah — Every hour on the hour this Memorial Day, “Taps” rang out across the gravestones at the Herriman Cemetery.

Each Memorial Day at 3 p.m. local time, buglers and trumpet players across the country play “Taps” to honor those who served our country and lost their lives.

Erik Whicker, a 16-year-old trumpet player from Herriman High School, decided he wanted to do more.

“I really wanted to take this time to pay my respects,” Whicker said.

In 2020, Whicker played “Taps” at the Herriman Cemetery on his trumpet at 3 p.m. as part of “Taps Across America,” the national moment of remembrance.

It’s an event that started more than 20 years ago and attracts trumpet players all over the United States.

“I felt like I wanted to do it this year and I loved it so much,” said Whicker. “I decided to do it every hour this year just to show my respect.”

Whicker’s grandfather served in the military and played the trumpet.

“Part of me just felt like I wanted to show my respect to him, so this is the way I want to do that,” he said.

His friend Tyler Robinson joined him as an echo for several performances.

“It’s just great for me to come out and remember what the holiday is for,” said Robinson.

As they played, the young trumpeters reflected on the men and women who gave their lives for the country.

“I think it’s one of the greatest sacrifices you can give, and I think the reason I’m doing this today is because I really just want to show my respect and say thank you so much for all you do for us,” said Whicker.

“I try to focus away from everything around me and play the song in memory of those who have served,” said Robinson.

“I thought it was great,” said Sherman Bodell.

Bodell and his daughter, Dana Swensen, come to the cemetery every year. They have ancestors dating back to the original settlers of Herriman.

They said “Taps” reminds them of sacrifice.

“People have risked their life so that I can sit here and be free,” said Bodell.

“It brings a reverence to the cemetery,” said Swensen. “How special it is with just the surrounding scene: the flags and seeing the graves all decorated with families here.”

The teen from Herriman High reflected on the sacrifices made by troops not much older than him.

“The ultimate sacrifice — I mean, you’re sacrificing your future, and sometimes, you’re leaving families behind and it’s sad, but it’s also noble and brave,” said Whicker.

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