Chronically short of musicians for military funerals, the Pentagon has approved the use of a push-button bugle that plays taps by itself as the operator holds it to his lips.
Only some 500 buglers are on active duty on any one day, but about 1,800 people with military service die across the country each day and are eligible for honors ceremonies, Air Force Lt. Col. Cynthia Colin, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said Thursday.
So the Defense Department worked with private industry to invent the “ceremonial bugle,” which has a small digital recording device inserted into its bell to play the music.
A member of the honor guard at the funeral simply presses a button on the device. A five-second delay gives the guards time to raise the instrument to their lips as if they are going to play it.