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WWII Veteran Honors Military and Late Wife - KOAM TV 7

WWII Veteran Honors Military and Late Wife

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WEBB CITY, MISSOURI -

91-year old Bruce Benson says "Taps" has a special significance in the military. 

"[It] means the end of the day. Passing of life," Benson said. "The lyrics, they have a reverence that kind of demands silence."

"Taps" is the song traditionally played during flag ceremonies of the U.S. armed forces, as well as military funerals. Music has a special significance in Benson's life as well. He was playing a trumpet when he met his wife.

Benson served in the U.S. Army during World War II. His then-future wife, Jane, danced in the U.S.O.

"I was sitting on the bandstand, lonely and blue," Benson said. "When this beautiful angel came up on the bandstand, looked up at me and said, 'can you play two courses of southern fried with a four-bar intro?'"

The two spent 68 years together in marriage before she died of ALS, in 2014. He keeps his trumpet next to a shelf of items she collected.

"Well, it's kind of a shrine," Benson said.

It was several months after, Benson began playing "Taps" as the sun went down in Webb City. Now playing in tandem with David Bergland, a Marine Corps vet. 

"Honoring those who have served," Bergland said. "It's a daily reminder. And it's something that happens at military bases all over the world is 'Taps'."

Benson says he didn't start playing every night as a tribute to his wife. But as he's played, the significance of the song has changed.

"Just before she passed away she prayed that our family would be strong in christian ethics and patriotism. What we're doing here is trying to maintain the reverence and let people know about it," Benson said. "This is as much as in reverence to her as it is to praise honor to our flag."

Benson is also a member of "Bugles Across America". A group that volunteers to play "Taps" at military funerals.

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