Bugler’s flubbed note leads to memorable correspondence - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Bugler’s flubbed note at JFK’s funeral leads to memorable correspondence

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(Toledo News Now) -

Just three days after President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, a stunned nation mourned together, and watched a funeral service unlike any they had seen before.  Among those watching from home was Plymouth, Ohio 5th grader Eddie Hunter.

Much of the funeral's symbolism was lost on the young boy, until the camera captured a lone bugler playing taps.

The bugler missed the sixth note of the song, and even now, Eddie Hunter says he remembers feeling bad for the player.  In response, the then-10-year-old borrowed his sister's manual typewriter and wrote the bugler a letter.

"Anybody is bound to make a tiny mistake in front of millions of people," the note read.  "At first, I didn't notice it until they reran the picture.  You should hear some of the things I play."

When he finished writing, Eddie addressed the letter the only way he knew how: "To The man who played taps at President Kennedy's funeral, Washington D.C."

A month later, Eddie received a handwritten letter from Sgt. Keith C. Clark.

"Dear Eddie, thank you for your nice note regarding taps for the late President Kennedy's funeral," it began.  "I hope you're practicing hard on your trumpet and will be a good musician."

Eddie wrote one more letter to Sgt. Clark, but 50 years later, he'd almost forgotten about the correspondence.  That was until recently, when he received an email from an historian that brought it all back.

The modern-day letter asked if it was him who had sent the letter to Keith Clark , the bugler at JFK's funeral.  Ed Hunter said the email had his attention, because nobody knew about the letter except his parents, who had since passed.

Sgt. Clark had also died, but the historian had met with the late bugler's family while preparing for the 50th anniversary of JFK's death.  It was there that the historian found a box of memorabilia containing two letters sent 50 years ago from a young Eddie Hunter.

"Maybe mine was the only one from a little kid," says Hunter, holding back tears.  "That's a question I hope to ask his wife.  Why did he keep my letter?  I don't know."

Hunter will get the chance to ask Mrs. Clark this Saturday, Nov. 16.  It's been arranged for him to sit next to her at a special ceremony honoring Sgt. Clark at Arlington National Cemetary.

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