CU student plays at JFK ceremony
Student Life Editor
On Saturday, Nov. 16, Cameron University Music Junior and Kappa Kappa Psi President Joseph Kinsman attended the observation of the 50th anniversary of the funeral for President John F. Kennedy. Kinsman was invited to the Arlington National Cemetery to preform as a bugler in JFK’s ceremony. There were approximately 100 buglers at the event.
Kinsman said that on the morning of the ceremony, they sounded the bugle call numerous times: the first time in unison, the second time in a four-part harmonization and the third time at their pre-assigned areas throughout the cemetery. Kinsman was set to play his call at the Tomb of the Civil War Unknowns.
“It was interesting for me in between calls to listen for the other buglers playing when it wasn’t the ones that were really close to me. I could hear ones that were over the hills and down in all kinds of directions. You could hear it coming from everywhere,” Kinsman said. “It was kind of an eerie experience because it was overcast and dreary that day, so it really set a mood for it. It’s kind of like you were listening to the calls from all the funerals that have ever happened there.”
He explained the significance behind the bugle call. At President Kennedy’s funeral, Sergeant Keith Clark sounded the call. At the end of the second phrase, he cracked a note. The country referred to this as the trumpet crying, and sentiment was attached. Kinsman was invited to the Arlington National Cemetery to honor not only President Kennedy, but to play in remembrance of this call.
“Playing in honor of President Kennedy, who was the second president to get assassinated, it’s a very special thing. It’s something that doesn’t happen all the time,” he said.
Kinsman started bugling five years ago. According to him, it was an event held in the Ft. Sill National Cemetery in 2008 that started his music career with Taps for Veterans. However, his love for music was a gene that he inherited from his family. His father, brother and sister all played musical instruments at some point in their lives. His main reason for playing the trumpet is to recognize his father.
“It’s for my dad. He was a 20-year Army vet, and he was going to retire three months after he died,” he said. “It’s getting to play for him, remembering him as a man and as a solider with service to the country. Also, for my brother who is serving in the Air Force at the moment. I’ve got military in my family on both sides, but the ones I’m closest to are my dad and my brother, so I’m playing for them as much as anybody.”
He also recalled that there was someone farther away from home than expected for whom he played. Chin Sun Pac Wells, a 1995 Eisenhower graduate, was buried at Arlington after being killed in the 9/11 attacks on the Pentagon.
“It was neat to know that I wasn’t just playing for family and soldiers in general, but also someone from right here at home,” he said.
Kinsman affirmed that bugling is something close to his heart that he will continue to do for the rest of his life. He believes that all soldiers deserve to have a live bugler at their ceremony as opposed to a recording of someone playing the Taps call.
“It’s not something to build a career on, but it’s something I’m never going to stop doing,” he said. “You’re talking about years of their lives spent in service to their country and being able to preform this call is giving them the salute that they deserve. Every call is unique, and it needs to be that way. They protect us every day; the least I can do to give them their final farewell.”