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BUGLES ACROSS AMERICA (BAA) was founded in 2000 by Tom Day as a response to the stated shortage of buglers required to provide the mandated and deserved honors for veterans.  In that year, new federal legislation clarified that every honorably discharged veteran had a right to at least two uniformed military personnel to fold and present the flag and to sound Taps for funeral honors.  The law went on to state that a CD recording of Taps could be used if a bugler was not available.  Tom felt that a recording of Taps was not sufficient to properly pay tribute to the sacrifice and service these veterans had given for their country, so he decided to do something about that.

BAA was founded on the premise that there were certainly enough people that had the ability to actually play a horn and provide a dignified and live sounding of Taps.  All that was needed was a way to create and maintain a readily accessible data base of the names of these individuals.  That data base, so humbly begun by our founder, has grown to a list of volunteer buglers several thousand strong from all 50 states and several overseas locations.  Soon thereafter a web site was established to provide on-line publicity of the organization and to allow the general public to request the services of a bugler. To assist in the management of the ever-growing list of volunteer buglers, a roster of directors has been established to oversee the operation of each state’s members and to provide general coordination of the national effort. 

The tradition continues as more and more people volunteer their time and talent to provide honors to our veterans, and as word continues to spread, increasing public awareness of BAA and its mission of honor.

BAA is a not for profit organization created for and dedicated to the purpose of providing a live bugler to serve in honoring veterans at military funerals and other proper memorial occasions.  Each volunteer bugler must be capable of discharging those duties in a manner conveying total respect and dignity at all times. 

Although we are all individuals, we must attempt to conform to certain established practices, and always conduct ourselves in a manner that will not discredit or tarnish the image of Bugles Across America or those we are called to honor.  On that premise, the following directives have been established and approved.  All members are expected to comply with these tenets while representing this organization in any manner, be it serving as a bugler or spokesperson to public gatherings.  Any unjustifiable or deliberate breach of these guidelines will provide cause for the removal of the individual from the official list of bugler members.  If the individual is unable or refuses to bring their conduct into compliance, it shall be cause for removal from the general rolls of Bugles Across America.  Such action may be taken at the discretion of a State Director or directed by a National Officer.

Any deliberate attempt to continue to represent or indicate an affiliation with Bugles Across America after such removal as indicated above will place that individual in jeopardy of legal action taken on behalf of the organization.

Those performing the duty of sounding Taps must be able to do so in a manner that conforms to the accepted, published version. See

No deliberate variation or additions will be allowed while sounding Taps for military funeral honors or memorials. Note that our very purpose of existing as an organization is to provide a live sounding of Taps, powered by heart rather than by batteries. It is understood that every note may not be absolutely perfect every time, although that should be the goal each time we are called on to provide the honor. The demand is not for absolute and unwavering perfection, but rather for every mission-ready bugler to be able to sound a generally acceptable version of Taps on a consistent basis. With this in mind, each bugler shalll be prepared to sound Taps at the reasonable request of their State Director or other designated officer of the organization.

   In 2010, BAA adopted a national motto that expresses our desire to provide honor and to honor that provision.  Our motto:

Sanus Veneratio ~ Veneratio Sanus

                                                                 Literally translated as        Sound the Honor ~ Honor the Sound  

This motto is meant to express that it is our corporate desire that each volunteer bugler be available as much as possible to honor our veterans with live sounding of Taps,  and also that the overall provision of that service be honorable, dignified, and as pure in its presentation and effect as we can possibly achieve


Anyone wishing to represent BAA must complete the Registration form found on the official BAA web site at   Initial submission of this application will present the individual’s name and contact information to national and specific state directors.  The name will first appear on a list of Non-Bugler Volunteers and will provide for a limited access to areas of the web site.  It shall be the responsibility of the state director to contact that newly registered individual to determine the intended purpose for joining and to verify their mission-ready status.  Once the state director has made this determination the person’s name will be transferred to the Buglers List.  This action will provide expanded access to other areas within the web site and will include the individual on the system-generated notification of bugler assignment requests within their designated region.  (100 mile radius of event location)

  Registration must be done using a valid address, telephone number and e-mail address.  As e-mail is the primary means of communication to the members for all matters pertaining to BAA, the address that is registered must be one that is monitored on a regular basis.  Note that a member’s contact information is accessible through the BAA site only by site Administrators, including State Directors.  This has been done so as to provide the greatest extent of privacy in an attempt to protect the registered members from unwanted or spam contacts.  It shall be the responsibility of each registered member to maintain this listed contact information in a current status.


Any standard trumpet, cornet, bugle, flugelhorn, or field trumpet may be used to sound Taps for military funeral honors or memorial service.  Obviously, as a tenet of our statement of purpose, this does not include the digital or Ceremonial Bugle employing a recording.  For most occasions, Taps may be sounded in any key that is comfortable to the individual and is within a normal range of typical performance.  For the purpose of conformity, the most commonly used keys are G and B-flat.


The first and overriding principal is that the bugler must always present a dignified, honorable, respectful and non-controversial appearance.  Any attire must always be clean and well maintained.  Remember that we are there to provide honor and tribute to others, not to showcase ourselves.

Discrete civilian attire such as dark suit and white shirt with solid, dark tie is always appropriate for male buglers.  Similarly, dark skirt or slacks with white blouse would be suitable for females.  Appropriate accommodation may be made for extreme temperature or inclement weather.

Those who are honorably separated veterans or currently serving members of the armed forces may, in strict accordance with military regulation, wear the dress or class A uniform of their service.  The individual is solely responsible for compliance with any and all pertinent regulations as to the wear of the military uniform under these circumstances.

Members of ROTC or JROTC may wear the dress uniform of their unit.

If the bugler is a member of a Veterans Service Organization, the dress uniform of that group may be worn when appropriate.

Designated Honor Guard uniforms may be worn when serving with those units.

Members of the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts may wear that uniform if complete and respectful in appearance.

When appropriate to the specific occasion, historical uniforms such as worn by some reenactors may be used.  As an example, if serving as part of a Civil War Memorial dedication, a CW uniform may be worn to show respect to that period of service.

Bugles Across America has adopted an official uniform.  Although the uniform is not mandatory, members would be encouraged to wear this uniform when serving in the capacity of a BAA representative.  This uniform is dignified and respectful, but great lengths were taken during its development to avoid the close resemblance to any of the military service uniforms.  The BAA uniform must be worn in accordance with BAA directives with no personal alterations or additions.

Now, so as to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding, we will specifically address attire that is not acceptable. 

Casual civilian attire such as shorts, sweats, jeans, t-shirts, bright patterns, etc. is never appropriate and shall not be worn to represent BAA as a bugler.

Flashy marching band or drum corps uniforms should not be worn for military funeral honors or memorial services.  This type of uniform is, by design, meant to draw attention to the wearer and that is to be avoided in the discharge of BAA duties.

Military fatigues or BDU’s are never acceptable for honors details other than those that may be conducted by active military units while serving in a forward or combat area or exercise.

No attempt shall be made to “create” a uniform that would give the appearance of any military service or that contains parts of surplus military uniforms for the same effect.

As a general rule, our buglers should never be attired in any manner that draws extra or unwarranted attention to them.  It is not about us, it is about those we are there to honor.


When a member has been included on the Buglers List of registered members, they will automatically receive an e-mail message from to alert them of any Bugler Request that is posted through the BAA system if the event location is within 100 miles of their listed physical address.  (Be aware that this radius is not restricted by political or geographic boundaries.)  When receiving such a notice, the member has the option to simply delete or ignore the message if it is on a date or at a location that prohibits their serving the mission.  If, however, the member wishes to investigate the opportunity further, they may click on the "Click here to see more details about this request" active link contained in their e-mail message.  This action does not commit the member to serve the mission at this point, but it will open a page that gives greater detail of the mission, including a map of the event location.  Note that if someone has already accepted the mission it will indicate that fact on this new page display.  If the member wishes to accept the assignment to this mission, they should first print this page, and then click on the “Volunteer” button found on that page. When this is done, he/she will receive an on-screen acknowledgement of mission assignment.  Note: Do not Reply To the email sent to notify you of a mission request. These messages are sent from an address that is not monitored for incoming message traffic.  Note: you should print the notice of mission request and assignment., and take this with you when you go to serve the mission.

Once a volunteer has thus committed to accept a mission assignment, it is imperative that they follow through and fulfill the service.  Failure to report to an assigned mission without justifiable reason shall be sufficient cause for removal from the BAA Bugler roster.  Do not accept a mission assignment unless you have every reasonable intention and capability to serve.


As soon as practical after accepting a mission, it is then your responsibility to make direct contact with the requestor to assure them of your intent to be there to serve and to get any further clarification or information regarding the mission .  Although the requestor receives a message from BAA to inform them their request has been filled, it remains essential that the volunteer establish direct communication. 

Under no circumstances should any BAA bugler make contact with a requestor prior to actually accepting a mission through the system links.  Such unauthorized and unwarranted contact will very likely result in confusion regarding the status of the request, and at the very least constitutes an intrusion into the family’s time and concern under circumstances that are most surely troubling and stressful for them.

  * Note that some states have adopted certain procedures for the acceptance and final assignment of bugler missions within their state that amend or supersede the statements included here.  It shall be the responsibility of state directors to so notify their members if that is the case within their state.  All members are obligated to follow the prescribed procedures that apply to them.


The volunteer bugler should arrive at the location of a service sufficiently in advance of the expected arrival of the funeral party or program beginning in the case of special memorial events.  A reasonable rule of thumb might be to allow at least a thirty minute cushion.  We can be two hours early, but we can not be two minutes late.  In some cases you may have received word to arrive early so as to affect a run-through with the other members of an honors detail.  Note that it is not appropriate to render a sounding of Taps while doing a practice run.  A good and acceptable alternative is to hit and hold for several seconds just the beginning note and then the ending note to assure that the detail leader can hear you and that you understand the appropriate time to begin sounding Taps during the actual service.

Upon arrival at the service location the bugler should make them self known to the honors detail leader or other person in charge. If the detail leader asks for verification of your assignment to be the bugler, you can show the printed copy of your request and assignment.   As a bugler, you are then under the direction of that detail leader.  You may suggest location so as to assure that you are visible and within hearing of the funeral party as prescribed by all regulations that cover military funeral honors.  Assure that you understand the intended sequence of actions, as there can be variation in this among honors teams. 

You begin to publicly represent BAA at the time of your arrival at the service location.  With that in mind, all conduct and appearance must be such as to maintain only the highest level of dignity and respect for the occasion. 

If upon your arrival at the ceremony location, you find that another bugler is present, you must discuss the situation to determine who is to serve the mission.  If you are there at the direct request of the family, you should take precedence; however in no instance should you press the issue to the point of causing a scene or disturbance.  If at all possible contact your State Director for guidance and assistance.  Your State Director may have already given instruction for this possibility in a state-specific set of guidelines.  Remember, the important thing is that the veteran be honored, and preferably by the live sounding of Taps.  It need not always or only be BAA that provides this honor.

Although not mandatory, it is highly recommended that each volunteer seek to obtain the AP3 training and certification that assures one’s knowledge and capability to perform the required tasks in providing military funeral honors.  Contact your State Director for information on this training.  Another excellent source of training on military funeral honors is a self-study course provided on line at   There is no cost for completing this training and a certificate is awarded at successful completion of the full course.  Neither of these training programs specifically discusses the full role of the bugler, but it does help to make one aware of all that is included in the military funeral honors presentation.


Under no circumstance shall a member of BAA require, request, or otherwise suggest that they be compensated for their participation in a military funeral honors service.  There will be no exceptions to this rule.  If it becomes known that any member is doing this, it shall be cause for immediate removal. 

If you are offered an unsolicited honorarium you may accept it with gratitude and dignity.  


Each bugler should take steps to publicize their availability in their home area.  This can be done by distribution of business cards, a formal letter of introduction, prepared brochures, etc.  Speak to local funeral directors, to veteran service organizations, and civic groups.  Advertise your role in the overall mission of BAA and provide information on the methods to contact BAA either through your established state organization and/or the national organization.  While making these contacts, be prepared to demonstrate your capability to perform the duties that you are representing.

Contact with military-unit honors details should only be done by the State Director or an individual that has been designated to make such contact.  If you are serving an honors mission with a military unit and they wish more information regarding BAA, you should provide the means to contact your State Director or a National Coordinator.

Any pre-planned presentations to public media (newspaper, magazine, radio, television, etc.) must be coordinated and approved through a National Coordinator, your State Director, or a designated media representative.  This is not done to limit an individual’s exposure to media publicity, but to assure that the coverage will reflect only a positive and truthful image of Bugles Across America, and be consistent in presentation.

Any public presentation or activity representing BAA must avoid any actual or implied political or sectarian bias, endorsement, or involvement.  Inappropriate representation by just one individual has the potential to jeopardize the non-profit status of BAA.


Every member is expected to remain cognizant of current activities and notices regarding BAA by making regular visits to the BAA web site and your own state’s primary communication function if one exists.  Each member is responsible for keeping their contact information up to date on their registered profile.  Keep your State Director notified of any change in your contact information or long-term availability.

The active leadership of any state may add specific stipulations to those stated here in a way that may make them more restrictive or that would include additional requirement on the members of that state.  However, no state leadership is empowered to specifically exclude any stipulation or bugler requirement within this document.

The bugler members are to uphold and comply with all included stipulations herein, and any additions that are adopted by their home state.


These Bugler Directives shall be reviewed no less than annually by National Admin, and may be revised at any time as deemed necessary.
Revised 12 - 2016




Copyright 2014 by Bugles Across America