Gary Edmondson, US Army Veteran, Celebrates 70 Years Of Playing TAPS
Gary Edmonson, an Acadiana US Army veteran, is celebrating his 70th year of performing for military events.
A local veteran and veteran's rights advocate emailed the following information about Gary, and how he started playing for military events:
Gary was born in August of 1934 in Brooklyn N.Y. After joining the Boy Scouts at age 10, Gary played TAPS at his first military funeral in 1946, at age 12. He has been playing TAPS at military funerals for 7 decades.
At the age of 21, he joined the Army. After serving as a draftsman for one year, Gary earned a position in the US Army band in Louisville, Ky. Following discharge from the US Army, Gary began a career as an insurance salesman.
In Nov 1959, Gary was transferred to Lafayette La. He settled into life in Acadiana, where he continued his lifelong dedication to provide the final tribute at veteran funerals. He notified all 6 of the local funeral homes that he was available to play TAPS at no cost to the family.
Since then, he has become a fixture at local funerals, military, veteran and community events.
In May of 1963, Gary played his 1st Memorial Day Service at Lafayette Memorial Park. In 1964 he played his 1st Memorial Day Service at Green Lawn Memorial Park, and continues to do so at both locations today. Gary considers this his calling in life; to provide these fallen heroes the final tribute as their families lay them to rest.
In 1990, Gary joined the local VFW 9822 as an honorary member, and continues as their bugler today. In 2000, the VFW added Fountain Memorial to their Memorial Day service events, and Gary has continued to play TAPS there as well.
In 1995, Gary helped organize a celebration for local veterans on the national 50th anniversary of the end of WW II that honored over 200 local WW II veterans.
In 2014, Gary Edmondson fulfilled a decade of dreams and created the Acadiana Veterans Honor Guard. Gary was instrumental in securing over $6000.00 in funding and support to accomplish his goal to ensure that every local veteran will receive full military funeral honors. Donations included 2 electronic bugles, which will be utilized when Gary can no longer play his beloved TAPS, Call to Colors, and the 5 military service branch songs.
In March of 2013, Gary Edmondson was inducted into the Living Legends Hall of Fame in Erath, La. His heartfelt dedication to our fallen heroes is an inspiration to us all.
Gary has enriched the lives of everyone around him. His humility and noble spirit are a gift to all whom consider him a friend.
Gary is well known and beloved in our community. He is looking forward to many more years of providing the veterans family the final tribute. -
Congratulations, Mr. Edmonson, and thank you for your service to our veterans and to our country!