One of the first sights I remember is green grass under my feet, and a folding chair whose seat was roughly at my eye height. One of the first sounds I remember is the bugle, echoing through the graveyard, and the crack of the guns.
One of the standard beginner tunes for the trumpet is Taps, because it's all open C's, and teaches breathing and lip control to vary the notes. As soon as I played it, I knew I'd heard it before, knew that I should know this song, and that it wasn't quite right. My father would leave the house to not have to listen to me practice - and it drove me, haunted me, because I knew this song somehow to my bones, but didn't quite remember why.
Later, I learned all too well why I never could make it sound right on my trumpet, and why my father would leave the house, as the bugle and its echo came across another graveyard. I watched a folded flag be pressed gently into hands that had poured years of life into a son, only to have it poured out in defense of our land. Later, I'd learn the cost we pay in flesh and blood, in hopes and dreams, in fathers, daughters, sons, mothers, brothers, sisters, and friends.
To everyone who is serving and everyone who has served, you have my deep and grateful thanks.