Taps evolks strong patriotic emotions
September 19, 2001
It was a night unlike any other in the week. It was Friday night, the night for high school football.
With the sun illuminating only the highest points of Utah to the west, and darkness flooding every nook and cranny of the Colorado Rockies to the east, a lone trumpeter stood silhouetted, just out of the reach of the Moffat County High School stadium lights.
In this far off outpost of America, the trumpet cried the ageless tune of death, of remembrance, and above all, of honor. The tune the trumpeter wailed into a warm westerly wind on a night made for football was Taps.
This was an extremely surrealistic experience for me, because we as a community, or at least the football-watching members of the community, gathered to remember people we’ve never met, from a place many of us have never been. It was a good-bye to all those lost so unjustly in the twin tower tragedy Sept. 11.
It was a surrealistic experience for me because the effigy to western capitalism had fallen, but Trapper Mine’s draglines still swung in the night, and boys still strapped on pads to play the game of games.
I must admit, few things in this world move me, and that’s the truth.
I usually consider myself led by the noise by my id, the primal function of the human psyche. Rage and joy, black and white, apples and oranges are the extremes I feel emotionally.
I can not say why. Perhaps it is because of the trap modern man has set for himself, sustaining meaning from the meaninglessness like so many J. Alfred Prufrocks, and always cloaked in angst because we do so.
The moment the first jetplane disappeared into the depths of the first World Trade Tower, this all changed.
A shade of gray crept into me a mixing of life’s black and white. A bastardization of the known an unknown.
Yes, there was rage, because of a coward’s pitiless attempt at his or her global 15 minutes of fame.
There was also joy. It came in watching a nation so alienated from itself, draw together as if we were all neighbors.
But, in between there was a melding of all other emotions, eliminating the black and white and filling me with the grey.
This is to be expected in any traumatic time I suppose, and was not relieved until the lone trumpeter played his song of remembrance.
As the song filled the air, the grey was erased, so were joy and rage, and one overwhelming emotion fill me. It was an emotion which only a few on this planet are lucky enough to feel, the emotion connected to being a American citizen.
It’s an emotion with has a chip on its shoulder, that wells with pride and feels compassion, all at the same time. Being an American is like making love, climbing a mountain or facing death it’s something you can’t understand unless you’ve been part of it.
The trumpeter, a Moffat County High School student by the name of Randy Runyan, will once again honor all those lost at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday during the Grand Entry of the Moffat County High School Rodeo team at the Fairgrounds.
I suggest, even if you aren’t a fan of rodeo, that you attend anyway, if only to listen to this young man say good-bye without using words. Listen and look. Look at all around you, look at the valley you live in, and look at the society we have.
Perhaps, if you are plagued with the grey that I had no less then a week ago, it can be replaced. Maybe not with the exact same American emotion I defined earlier, but perhaps with your own distinct American emotion, which like many experiences you’ve had and are going to have, will be indescribable to any who were not involved.