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First Civilian Plays Taps at Tomb for Civil War Unknowns

October 05, 1996|Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Va. — Dale Sprosty raised his trumpet to his lips, closed his eyes and fulfilled a dream at Arlington National Cemetery by playing taps Friday at the tomb of unknown Civil War soldiers.

Sprosty of Mount Pleasant, Mich., is the first civilian ever known to be allowed to play taps at either of the cemetery's two tombs for unknown soldiers, said John Metzler, superintendent of the cemetery, which is run by the Army.

Sprosty, 65, had wanted to play taps at Arlington cemetery ever since President Kennedy was killed in 1963.

The Tomb of the Unknowns, which represents soldiers from World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, was off limits. But Sprosty readily accepted an offer to play at the Tomb of the Unknown Dead from the Civil War.

As a corporal in the Army, he had played for a military band in New York City from 1948 to 1952.

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