Dauer is dedicated to “Taps” at memorials

Nick Dauer has been the dedicated “Taps” player with the Springfield American Legion Honor Guard for over ten years.  When the Legion is part of a veteran’s memorial service at the cemetery, Dauer is part of the group.

He started playing “Taps” when he was in the eighth grade at Springfield Public School.  His father, Duane, would pick him up at school, drive him to the funeral, and then back to school.  When his family moved back to Springfield in 2009, he asked his grandfather, Ed Pautzke, who was part of the Legion rifle squad, if they needed a horn player.  The Legion gladly took up his offer and he has been doing it ever since.

He has only missed a handful of funerals during that time.   “I was fortunate and honored to play at my grandpas’ funerals—Ed Pautzke, Jr. (Korean War veteran) and Fred Dauer, Sr. (World War II veteran),” Dauer said.  “It is an honor and a privilege to be part of the Legion’s Honor Guard.  Springfield is very fortunate to have a dedicated group of men who are committed to honoring our military veterans.”  Dauer added, “It’s our final salute to a fallen hero.”

Why do we play “Taps”?  Taps was composed by General Daniel Butterfield of the Union Army during The Civil War. Originally composed to signal “lights out,” the somber tune of 24 notes became a traditional way to honor service members, eventually becoming a staple at funeral services to honor the extinguishing of a life.

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