Seaford man performs taps live for thousands of fallen soldiers

SEAFORD - As the nation's call of remembrance turns 150, one Seaford man continues to make it his mission to play the timeless tune at soldiers' funerals.Seaford resident Louis DiLeo has sounded taps at more than 7,000 military funerals. The chief bugler of New York's Military Forces Honor Guard says he lives by two mottos: Nothing is more important than honoring a fallen soldier, and there's no such thing as sounding taps too many times."They put on the uniform, and at that point they wrote a blank check to the United States of America, payable up to their lives," DiLeo says. "That can't go unrewarded and unthanked."America's call of remembrance was born in 1862 when Union Brig. Gen. Daniel Butterfield adapted it from a French tune as a way to signal "lights out" for battle-weary troops during the Civil War.Since 1891, taps has been the official final tribute at all military funerals and has marked the passing of U.S. presidents.DiLeo was inspired to play taps live at military funerals after a recorded version of the song played at his godfather's funeral, which he said felt too impersonal. He has also performed the tune at the funerals of dignitaries, like former New York Gov. Hugh Carey.The Seaford native says he'll continue to play taps live at many future funerals, honoring fallen soldiers he's never met for that sacrifice he can't forget.

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