Detachment bugler Randy Rawlings will play taps. Fellow Marine Corps League detachment members Russ Vermillion, Bill Petree, Roy Williams, Terry Miller, Larry Heard, Roscoe Foster and Bud Stapleton will provided a 21-gun salute — three, seven-shot volleys.
If you are active in local events, you might have caught all eight of them last weekend in Griffin. They participated in a Veterans Day ceremony at Veterans Park in Griffin across from the library.
It’s amazing the number of requests the detachment gets for its services, one of the members told me.
Rawlings, himself, is no stranger to performing in front of large crowds. The owner of Rawlings Realty in Griffin played taps during ceremonies on Memorial Day the past two years while standing on home plate at Turner Field.
“It was an amazing experience to play for our military and everyone in the crowd at Turner Field,” said Rawlings.
He further explained there are few buglers who perform these days. In fact, he said, many performances these days are done with non-buglers holding a bugle, who hit the play button on a recorder inside the bugle. Rawlings, on the other hand, is Department of Defense certified to play taps at patriotic ceremonies in an official capacity.
He said you’d be amazed at how many people prefer someone playing live.
“It means a lot to some,” he added.
The entire detachment will be honoring our nation’s military today, including Cpl. Todd Love and SFC. Michael Schlitz. They were injured in, Iraq and Afghanistan, respectively.
Both were special guests of the Falcons during practice on Friday in Flowery Branch.
In a press release issued by the team, Schlitz, who was burned over 85 percent of his body and lost both of his arms in Iraq when his vehicle hit an IED, said, “It’s just amazing. Any time someone opens their doors that they normally don’t open, it’s very humbling. I’m grateful for the opportunity to see these guys practice. They’ve been doing great this year, so to see what the behind-the-scenes looks like, it’s fun.”
Once practice wrapped up, Love and Schlitz were invited by the team to join them on the field, where head coach Mike Smith made a short speech to his players and then presented the two veterans with Salute to Service game balls, according to the release.
Love, who lost both of his legs and his left arm after stepping on an IED in Afghanistan in October of 2010, according to the release, was invited to hold a field goal attempt by kicker Matt Bryant before both of them posed for a team photo with the Falcons and then broke practice down in the huddle.
“For me, it was lots of fun because I got to hold the ball,” Love said in the release. “That was the best part today. I got to hold the ball and they kicked it. It was fun. Too bad it wasn’t at a game. That’d be cool.”
John Sullivan is the sports editor at the Griffin Daily News.