PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — No one in the Millvale crowd recalls just how many Memorial Day services have been held at VFW Post 118, across from the doughboy statue. But this day promises a moment to remember.
Thirteen-year-old Kelsey Knaus warms up with 89-year-old Henry DiPasquale, a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge. Together they will play the haunting notes of Taps.
“Just the very first note, the second note,” DiPasquale says. “Then you’re on your way through it. It’s just thrilling.”
Henry’s wife Grace says the post asked him to do the honors. After all, he played Taps in the funeral of legendary general George Patton, shortly after World War II. He says he was in Heidelberg, Germany, when, “A call came over the PA system, can anybody play the trumpet?”
His wife Grace takes up the story. “And he said, ‘I can if you get me one.’ So they put him in a car, and gave him a bugle. And they went and took him to this church.”
Henry recalls what happened next. “And they’re coming out, they’re halfway down. All of a sudden I see them turning the casket around, on the steps. They must have brought him out backwards. He would have raised hell.”
“I’m sure he’ll think about Patton and all the soldiers that made, it and all the soldiers that did not make it,” Grace says. “So it’s very touching, and he has many memories. And many he doesn’t want to talk about.”
When time comes to raise his bugle, he plays flawlessly. Just three little notes. But what a story they tell.