Bugler's Flubbed Note at JFK Funeral Still Resonates

'Washington Post' looks back at Army Sgt. Keith Clark's poignant mistake
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2013 1:13 PM CST

(Newser) – Army Sgt. Keith Clark was by all accounts a brilliant bugler, but a big reason his name endures today (in bugle circles, anyway) is because of a famous mistake. The Washington Post explains that Clark very publicly botched the sixth note of the 24-note "Taps" at JFK's Nov. 25, 1963, funeral. It wasn't just any broken note, though: "Some said it sounded almost like a sob, befitting the moment," writes Michael E. Ruane.

In his defense, Clark had been waiting to play in the cold for hours—and much of the world was watching. "I missed a note under pressure," he said years later. "You never really get over it." Clark, who died in 2002, got letters of support from all over the country after his flub, and the empathy continues this weekend: On Saturday, the US Army Band and 100 buglers will play at his grave in Arlington. Read Ruane's full story on the note and the bugler here.

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