MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Lash Bragan has made it his mission to make sure every military veteran who has passed on receives a live rendition of taps, no matter what the circumstance may be.
Taps is the nation’s official “Song of Remembrance,” and serves as a tribute for those who’ve died for their country. This song takes up most of Bragan’s free time as he sounds taps for as many veterans as he can.
“I started it because I wanted to sound live taps for those four soldiers that I served with, so it started out as a little project,” Bragan explained.
Bragan was an infantry soldier assigned to the P2 Nuclear Missiles Field Artillery Unit. His job was to guard the missiles. Two years ago, he attended his 35th reunion for that unit and found out the news of his fellow soldiers’ deaths.
“I had also found out that at military funerals, it’s very rare that you can get a live person sounding taps,” Bragan explained. “You’ll have a soldier there if you’re lucky holding a bugle and inside the bugle is an insert and they push play and it’s a recording.”
Bragan felt every soldier deserved a live rendition of taps. His daughter helped him set up a Facebook page to get the word out and he went to work.
“I started getting requests from all over and the page in just a year and a half has over 10,000 followers now,” Bragan said.
Currently, Bragan is focused on honoring more than 300 vets from the Persian Nuclear Missile Unit and he’s also traveling across the country, giving soldiers a proper salute.
“There was a lady who reached out to me locally here and her husband had just passed and in the hectic of everything, she couldn’t find his separation papers without separation papers you can’t get a military honor at your funeral,” Bragan said.
Although Bragan is busy with his mission, the process to get started wasn’t easy. He had to teach himself the skill.
“I got on YouTube and found a YouTube channel that talked about how to do the trumpet, so I listened to those, and I used those principles that I learned on the YouTube and applied them to the bugle,” Bragan said. “It was very difficult, my kids wanted to kill me of course…the neighbors didn’t like me much.”
However, now Bragan has mastered his calling, and every time he sounds taps, another soldier is remembered.
“The family members will write in and they will write the entire story of what happened to these soldiers while they were serving the different situations, they were in, it’s really unbelievable,” Bragan said.
TAPS: The Last Salute is a grassroots effort totally operated through donations. If you’d like to help, click here to learn how.