A Celebration Of American And The American Flag

Buglers Dale Sprosty (left) and Brian Eiffes (right).

2001 - William R. Harvey

The 2003 Award Recipient, Musician Dale Sprosty
Years ago, every veteran who passed away received a color guard burial which included the playing of Taps along with a gift of an American flag to the veteran's family members. While the flag is still given by the U.S. government in grateful appreciation of service, the color guard burial and a live version of Taps is no longer assured and rarely provided. If Taps is sounded, it typically is played via cassette tape. There are fewer and fewer individuals available to play Taps, which is why the service Dale Sprosty provides is so valuable.

Dale Sprosty is a veteran of the United States Army, having served as a trumpeter in the prestigious First Army Concert Band in New York City from 1948 to 1952. As part of the concert band, Sprosty spent his military career leading parades, entertaining dignitaries, such as General Dwight D. Eisenhower and playing Taps at the funerals of fallen soldiers. On weekends in those days, Sprosty often headed out, trumpet in hand, to New York's Greenwich Village Clubs sitting in with jazz greats Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, Harry James and Ray Anthony. Throughout his 54-year career and since his retirement, Sprosty has played Taps at more than 5,000 memorial services for fallen comrades. In 1995, he received one of the highest civilain honers — being given the opportunity to play Taps at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

In recognition of his more than 50 years of selfless service to the U.S. Armed Services and the nation as a whole, as the lone bugler playing Taps at the services of more than 5,000 veterans, assuaging the grief of many grieving family members and friends, the Thirteen-Fifty Foundation presented the 2003 Abraham Lincoln Spirit of America Award to Dale Sprosty.

copyright 2002, photo credits | audio credits