Navy Vietnam veteran Glenn Blackway proudly played Taps at the newly-renovated Heroes Hall during the 2017 Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, Calif.
"I'm glad I'm able to give back by honoring our fallen warriors and educating everyone about the need to understand the meaning of Taps and to respect our flag," said Blackway, who has been a professional musician throughout the United States.
"It's special playing Taps at the Medal of Honor Courtyard in front of
Heroes Hall, which was part of the Santa Ana Army Air Base, where
thousands of pilots were trained during World War II," said the Huntington Beach resident. "Visitors who heard the salute each evening gain an emotional understanding about honoring all who served in the military, including those who made the final sacrifice."
Glenn plays Taps on a harmonica, just as it was often done during the Civil War. (It's usually heard on trumpet.) His story on how it was created and first came to be played is worth hearing before his performance. It will bring tears to your eyes and make you proud to be an American.
"I was spellbound hearing the history and got a lump in my throat
listening to Glenn's beautiful Taps rendition on harmonica," said Juanita Gomez, whose father and grandfather served in the Army.
Glenn, who performed Taps at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., also plays harmonica and banjo as a regular guest star with Forever Young, America's Oldest Act of Professional Entertainers. (Forever Young is the featured act at 2 p.m., Sat., Oct. 21 at the famous Silverado Days at Peak Park near Knotts Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif.)
For more information on Heroes Hall, its programs and hours year-round, visit http://www.ocheroeshall.org or http://www.ocfair.com/heroeshall. To learn about its current exhibits, visit http://www.seecalifornia.com/museums/costa-mesa-veterans-museum.html.
(The writer's father served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. His grandfather, Franklin MacDonald, who served in the U.S. Army Air Corps at Natal Air Base, Brazil, loved Taps, which were played by a fellow World War II veteran at his funeral.)