CLEVER, Mo. -- For nine years now the Clever Upper Elementary school has been honoring area veterans with a Veterans Day ceremony.
And this year they had a very special guest. He started playing the coronet at age 10, the same age as many of the students taking part in today's ceremonies. And 82 years later at age 92, Bruce Benson is still going strong. The World War II vet from Webb City still plays taps every single day at sunset outside the Webb City post office.
"As I play taps every evening I think of our fallen comrades who didn't make it and I'm thinking of the young men of today who are still serving," he said.
He never misses a day, rain or shine.
"If we just do it occasionally, we'll miss some young boy who's riding by on a bicycle, stops, gets off, and holds his hand over his heart," Benson explained. "And that has happened many times."
And he's one of 4,000 buglers around the country who volunteer to play taps at veterans funerals. Thursday, he received several standing ovations from the crowd.
"The first time that has ever happened to me," he said with a smile.
He also received an "Honor Quilt" that's presented to local veterans for their service. The program also included recognition of every veteran from every branch of the armed services as well as a song representing that branch. And after the ceremony, there was the touching scene of several students taking the time to visit with Benson to thank him for what he still does for his country. And what impressed them most about a 92-year-old bugler?
"How many 92 year-olds do you know that can still fit into their uniform?" exclaimed Carly McPhail, a fifth grader.