EUGENE, Ore. -- Taps is a song played when a soldier has fallen. For Adrian Vaaler, that true price of our freedom hits close to home.
The Vietnam veteran has a longstanding Memorial Day tradition of playing taps at the Masonic Cemetery. Vaaler said it’s his way of remembering those lost heroes of war.
"I grew up here in Eugene. I went to South Eugene High School … and there were 11 casualties from Vietnam - three from my class," Vaaler said. “I've been playing taps here for many years … and I always think of them when I play.”
He doesn't have to travel far for his annual taps performance, as Vaaler lives only a minutes walk from the Masonic Cemetery.
Adrian said he started playing the wartime tune after returning home from the Vietnam war with a purple heart.
“I think anybody who's served in a war wants to do something that's memorable. That reflects their feelings, and their background,” said Vaaler. “The best way for me to do it was with my horn."
After playing at the Masonic Cemetery at noon on Saturday, Adrian headed over to the Rest Haven Cemetery to play again. He finished the day with a last taps performance at Lane Memorial Gardens.