August 29. 2018 11:02PM

Volunteer buglers coming to the end of program's 13th year of nightly taps

New Hampshire Union Leader

Roger Pinard, left, plays Taps with Raymond Lamy, as the Catholic War Veterans during the 100 Nights of Remembrance held at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Manchester on Tuesday. Raymond participates to honor his four brothers as he and his brothers served in WWII. Roger lost a cousin in the Army during WWII and remembers him during the 100 Nights. The nightly event at 7pm from May 30th through September 11th is open to the public and veterans of all wars. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

For nearly four months, volunteer buglers have dutifully shown up every night at 7 to salute New Hampshire’s fallen soldiers by playing taps.

The 100 Nights of Remembrance season is drawing to a close, with the annual ending ceremony coming up at the New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery on Sunday, Sept. 9, at 6 p.m.

This is the 13th year for the summer-long remembrance program, which Vietnam veteran Noel Taylor started as a way to say goodbye to a friend. It’s turned into something much greater.

“We’ve got such a great group of volunteers,” Taylor said. “It makes me feel very proud and very appreciative of the men and women and the young people who do this.”

Taylor said the 100 Nights of Remembrance runs from Memorial Day through Sept. 11. Each night, one or two buglers play the traditional military salute at the Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen and at the Mount Calvary Cemetery on Manchester’s West Side.

Taylor said he’s got such a loyal base of buglers that he can find a last-minute substitute any night someone has to cancel.

“I can put out an S.O.S. and generally get three or four responses,” said Taylor, who started the program when he lived in New Hampshire, but now oversees it from his home in Clermont, Fla., where he retired.

“I’d say close to 90 percent of the people who started with us 13 years ago are still with us,” he said.

For this year’s concluding ceremony, Taylor hopes to have as many as 50 brass players on hand for taps, as well as a rendition of the national anthem. “With 50 brass players, the sounding of taps really sounds phenomenal,” Taylor said.

A smaller closing ceremony is scheduled at Mount Calvary for 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8.

Taylor said the tribute’s success has come from loyal supporters, whose participation has attracted others. Last year, he got a call from Jari Villanueva, an Air Force veteran who is a renowned bugler, asking to come up for the 2017 closing ceremony. “I’d be honored to have you come here,” Taylor said he responded.

Around five years ago, Taylor said another interested visitor came from the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps, who was impressed enough to keep coming back with friends. Taylor said last year nearly two dozen members of the Crusaders participated in the closing.

“Every year there’s been more and more members deciding to make the trip up here,” Taylor said.

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan started coming a few years ago when she attended a ceremony at Mount Calvary and is expected to make it to the Boscawen event this year, Taylor said. The guest speaker is Roland Cloutier, the chief security officer for ADP, who also happens to be Taylor’s son-in-law.