KILLEEN — For retired Col. Daniel Kott, the familiar, chilling, bugle call of taps holds great significance.
In 1952, he was drafted into the Army, but his placement in engineer Officer Training Course prevented him from going to Korea right away.
Around 150 people in his hometown of Aurora, Illinois, were drafted the day he was and some of them never made it back from Korea, Kott said.
“I was exposed to this, and the friends of mine in my hometown are buried over there,” Kott said, as tears began to well up in his eyes.
Kott is now the director of Multi-educational Cross Cultural and Arts Association of Central Texas (MECATX).
During a brief ceremony at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery on Nov. 11, Arthur Bryan, the band teacher at Patterson Middle School in Killeen, played taps.
After the brief ceremony, Bryan joined others to perform “cascading taps,” meaning they played the song in front of various graves throughout the cemetery.
“Taps, in the military tradition, is the most solemn way to honor a fallen warrior or veteran,” Kott said. “Taps is done at every military funeral.”
Returning to the cemetery was Ellison Junior ROTC cadet Capt. Harley Wilson, played “Il Silenzio.”
Five of the members of MECATX, who are all local students, played a sampling of patriotic music with instruments including the saxophone, an accordion, a baritone and a trumpet.
Kott said he thinks taps is losing its significance to the American public.
“America has become a very complacent place,” Kott said. “We’ve always said we need to study history ... if you don’t study history, it’s going to repeat itself.”
Kott said it is important for people to remember taps.
“It signifies all the people that have died.”