Patriotic Ceremony for Veteran's Funerals
January 1, 2020 | View PDF
• Veterans are entitled to a patriotic ceremony at their funerals.
• Families should take a copy of the veteran’s DD214 discharge
papers to the funeral home and ask for an honor guard to conduct a flag ceremony.
• Although the funeral home can arrange for the honor guard to include a bugler to play “Taps”, that bugler may bring a bugle
and play a tape recording.
• To arrange for a “live bugler”, contact Raymond Keel, a veteran who attend veterans’ funerals and plays “Taps” live.
• Call him at 334-233-8736. He is the Assistant Director of the organization, Bugles Across America for Alabama.
• Go to this web site: https://www.buglesacrossamerica.org and fill out the form for requesting a live bugler providing the date,
location and time of the internment.
• There is no charge for the military honor guard or for the live bugler.
Raymond Keel is a veteran who plays “Taps” at funerals of veterans. His voluntary service has been given already at over 300 graveside funerals of veterans. Since 2012, he has been an active member of the organization, Bugles Across America whose mission is to provide a “Live” not recorded bugler for the sounding of Taps at the closure ceremony for every veteran and other appropriate occasions. In May 2019, he was selected and accepted to the position of Alabama State Assistant Director for Bugles Across America. His duties will include playing Taps for Veterans' funerals and other appropriate occasions, assisting the State Director by monitoring all bugle requests in the State of Alabama and recruiting new buglers. Keel states, “All veterans deserve the highest honor that can be given to them at the close of their lives and to their families. Veterans are entitled to have a real live bugler playing Taps from the heart and not from a recording. There is something about Taps being played by a real person; it does something to a person's heart and soul that cannot be explained that a recording cannot do. I feel very honored, privileged and blessed to serve our veterans in this way for their service they gave of themselves for their God, country and fellow Americans.”
Keel was born July 9, 1946, in Memphis, TN to his parents, Elbert Leon Keel Sr. and Verbel M. McCrory. He graduated from Selmer High School in Selmer, TN. After graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army as a musician to play trumpet. After completing Basic Training at Ft. Campbell, KY., he attended the United States Naval School of Music in Little Creek, VA. He was hoping to be commissioned as a band director, which was his lifelong dream. Unfortunately, he was given a medical drop because his hearing was damaged in Basic Training on the rifle range. Keel then attended Supply School at Ft. Lee, VA, and after completing the training, he served in Germany one year and in Vietnam one year in Supply ordering parts for Hawk missiles. After three years of service in the Army, he was honorably discharged with the rank of E-6. He obtained employment with the Civil Service at the Army Depot in Memphis, TN. He used the G.I. Bill going to school at night to obtain a degree in Applied Science in Engineering and Building Construction at the State Technical Institute at Memphis, TN. Graduating with high honors, Keel was on the Dean’s List several times. He joined the U.S. Naval Reserve in the SEABEES at the Naval Air Station at Millington, TN. He transferred his Civil Service employment to Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, AL, where he worked in the Civil Engineering Department in the area of plumbing, heating, air conditioning and as a construction inspector retiring with over 28 years of service. He also transferred from the U. S. Naval Reserves to the 908th Air Force Reserves at Maxwell Air Force Base and retired with over 20 years of combined military service in the Army, Navy and Air Force.
Keel has been married to his wife, Martha Ann, for 51 years, and they have three children, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Because of his musical talent of playing the trumpet and French horn, which he learned during high school, he has played in Montgomery's Capitol Sounds Concert Band, the Prattville Pops Concert Band and several other bands in musical programs.
Information about arranging for a deceased veteran to have “Taps” played by a bugler can be found at: https://www.buglesacrossamerica.org There is no charge for this service to veterans.
Helen Lattal: WWII WAC Celebrated 100th Birthday
Helen Lattal, a WWII WAC (Women's Army Corps), celebrated her 100th birthday on December 28th. Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed issued a special resolution declaring December 28, 2019, Helen Lattal Day in Montgomery.
Helen served as the administrative secretary and courier for American military leaders who were conducting WWII from a military base in England. After the War, she served three terms as the Commander of American Legion Post 20 and was named the American Red Cross Volunteer of the Year in Selma, AL.