LOUSIVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- One Hendricks County, Indiana, man is making sure families feel especially honored on Memorial Day if one of their loved ones who served in the military has been laid to rest in the county.
According to a report by FOX 59, Eric Bell, the director of Eric M.D. Bell Funeral Home, performs what he refers to as a traveling "Taps Tour." Bell is an experienced trumpet player, and plans to spend Memorial Day stopping at several cemeteries in the county to play "Taps" in tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
"It's really an honor to go from cemetery to cemetery," Bell said. "We often say that after Taps, nothing else matters in the funeral because that's the most important thing and the ultimate farewell."
Bell may run the funeral home, but that's not where his heart lies. His feelings toward honoring those who served is personal.
"My great regret in life is never having served in the military," Bell said. "That's always weighed heavily on me because of all those that gave the gift and sacrificed to others. My field, being a funeral director, is a very particular field that the military requires. I always regret not serving and I just never can give enough gratitude for those that did ... till the day I die."
He started in the funeral business when he was just 13 years old and graduated from mortuary school on Sept. 12, 2001. He's a gifted trumpet player, who now serves his country in other ways.
"It's important for me to personally honor these veterans with no accolades because that's not what I do this for and I try to do it perfect every time...and it doesn't ever come out perfect, in my opinion," Bell said. "I'm honored always to say farewell to a veteran no matter where they served, no matter what they did in the military."
Veterans like Don Ball, who served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, say Bell's Taps Tour is appreciated.
"I don't think I could make it through the entire song without tearing up," Ball said. "It chokes me up. My brother was injured in Vietnam, but we both came home. A lot of our friends didn't. That song is powerful because of what it means. What it stands for. It represents all of the fallen in past wars and it's to honor them, and that's one of the reasons why we have Memorial Day, to honor those that have fallen."
It's why Bell tries to make his performances perfect and personable for families throughout the area.
"If your family member who served is buried in any nearby cemetery, I will personally perform Taps, after reading their name aloud and record a video of the performance and post it to the cemetery's Facebook page," Bell said. "Unfortunately, I feel strongly that it's important for me to do this alone. Because I don't do this for attention. It's important enough to me just to be a gift to give back to veterans, and so I do it alone. I don't tell anybody what time I'm going to be at any cemetery."
If you'd like to reach out to Bell, send him a message through the funeral home's Facebook page or give them a call at 317-892-4242.
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