CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Its not unusual to hear Taps played at a military funeral, but what is unusual is that one local veteran has played that mournful tune at 1,000 military funerals to date.
Larry DuPree plays Taps for as many as six military funerals each week and he says he does it to honor those who have served this nation.
"It's our way to be part of the team this country puts out that says thanks for that veteran's service," said DuPree/
DuPree is 66 years old and newly retired. He say performing at military funeral gives him something useful to do.
"I do it to honor the veterans and also want to do something in my retirement years, I've retired, that has some meaning to it rather than sitting around on the couch, taking up knitting or something like that," he said.
DuPree served as medic in Vietnam, but he says he really didn't get to know many of the wounded he helped.
"When I did fly missions in Vietnam, I flew medevac missions, I didn't know the soldiers, the missions were so short and I always felt bad about not knowing who they were," he said. "We just didn't have time to get acquainted as you can imagine. So as part of the tribute to them even veterans I do all thousand services, I've said the name of the veteran silently before the first note of taps, so that's kind of a closure from the Vietnam era also."
Even after playing 1,000 services, DuPree says he still gets personal satisfaction.
"My way of saying thanks. The soldiers I didn't know in Vietnam, who knows I might have done some of their services between 2007 and now, or at least their dads or some of their relatives so that mentally gives me a little bit of closure that way," he said.
DuPree gets a small stipend from the army, but that doesn't cover his expenses. He says he doesn't do it for the money, he just wants to give something back.