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Dover veteran George Sherwood, 94, seen Monday, Nov. 1, 2021, played taps on his bugle when he and his wife, Jane Ann, ran out of candy on Halloween.
Dover veteran George Sherwood, 94, seen Monday, Nov. 1, 2021, played taps on his bugle when he and his wife, Jane Ann, ran out of candy on Halloween. (Deb Cram, Foster’s Daily Democrat/TNS)

DOVER, N.H. (Tribune News Service) — When George Sherwood and his wife, Jane Ann, ran out of candy to pass out on Halloween, they still found a way to give kids and their families a treat.

George, 94, a decorated World War II Navy veteran who served on the USS Terror as a signalman, took out his bugle and sounded taps on his porch, in a performance that neighbors and trick-or-treaters likely won’t forget.

George regularly sounds taps on the porch around 6 p.m., but this was a special performance. He put on his cover (military hat), walked out on the porch, said a few words, and sounded the tune as the crowd stood silent with their hands over their hearts.

“When we ran out of candy, I said ‘George why don’t you sound taps for them?’” Jane Ann said. “There was a group of about 15 people that stopped to listen, he really loved it and so did they.”

Dover resident Elena Morton captured the moment on Facebook and shared it in a local Dover community page, where it gained a lot of traction and community interest. Morton said how excited and honored she, her parents and her kids were to witness it, calling it one of the most uplifting and coolest moments she’s experienced.

“The smile on his face warmed my heart and made my night,” Morton said. “He told a couple jokes, put his white gloves on, picked up his bugle and explained that he was going to do the call of attention. When he played taps and it was incredible, as if he had been playing that all his life.”

WWII veteran George Sherwood, shown here in a screenshot of a video shared to social media, sounds taps for trick-or-treaters on Oct. 31, 2021 at his home in Dover, N.H.
WWII veteran George Sherwood, shown here in a screenshot of a video shared to social media, sounds taps for trick-or-treaters on Oct. 31, 2021 at his home in Dover, N.H. (Facebook)

Playing the bugle is one of George’s favorite pastimes. He first learned the call when he was in Boy Scouts growing up in Dover, and perfected it during his time in the service overseas during World War II.

“I have always loved the bugle and sounding taps,” George said. “I’m very patriotic at heart so it gives me pride to share that with others.”

George, who is also a Purple Heart recipient, wasn’t always as confident in performing in front of a crowd. He vividly recalls when the USS Terror was engaged and was struck by a Japanese kamikaze pilot, leaving more than 40 dead and more than 120 wounded on May 1, 1945. When the ship held an at-sea burial, as a beginner player, he was nervous and wanted to do it right. As the only bugle player on board, he sounded taps to memorialize those who died, and he’s continued the tune in memory of fallen service members ever since.

“The bugle is something truly special because not everyone can do it. It takes a lot of patience and practice to get it right,” George said.

He has long lost count of the number of times he’s sounded taps, as he’s sounded the call for many burials and ceremonies over the last 70 years in addition to the annual performances at Pine Hill Cemetery and other local cemeteries on Memorial Day and Veterans Day every year that have become a tradition for him. The couple were longtime Pease Greeters, which they said has instilled a lot of pride in them and forged a lot of friendships.

“Wherever he wants to go to play, I’m right there with him,” Jane Ann, his wife of 63 years said. “And we just really enjoy it. We love to see the joy, warmth and patriotism it brings people when he plays.”

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(c)2021 the Foster’s Daily Democrat (Dover, N.H.)

Visit the Foster’s Daily Democrat (Dover, N.H.) at www.fosters.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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