ALBANY, N.Y., Sept. 4 (UPI) -- Live buglers will no longer play "Taps" at funerals for U.S. military veterans in New York State because of cuts in federal funding, officials say.
Eric Durr, a National Guard spokesman, told Stars and Stripes the mourners will still hear the music, but it will be coming from a ceremonial bugle with a recorder inside. The recorded "Taps" was authorized by President George W. Bush at a time when the combination of Iraq War deaths and the passing of the World War II generation made buglers hard to find.
Louis DiLeo, who lives on Long Island, said he has played "Taps" at more than 7,000 funerals since 2006. So far this year, he has been paid $22,000, an expense the New York National Guard says it can no longer afford, given a $3.3 million cut in federal funding for military honor guards in the state.
DiLeo said the ceremonial bugles, which have been used for about half of all military funerals on Long Island, can have problems. He cites a news story about a Colorado funeral where "Taps" continued while the "bugler" used his instrument to try to beat off hornets and a Long Island funeral where the recorder was started prematurely and the music began before the instrument was at the bugler's lips.
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