ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- In St. Augustine and St. Johns County, there is one man who goes to most of the military services and memorials.
He carries an instrument with him: his trumpet.
Monday, John Donlon played "Taps" at least twice in St. Augustine.
"I just like to offer my services whenever I can," he humbly said.
Donlon – with horn in hand – usually stands at a distance from military ceremonies.
He started playing "Taps" when he was 10-years-old, 45 years ago.
"Oh yeah, just been playing ever since," he smiled.
Monday, as a large crowd gathered at the National Cemetery in St. Augustine to remember those who have died while serving their country, Donlon was in the back.
He understands military service.
Before serving 31 years with the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office, he served in the U.S. Navy.
"As a veteran, I understand what it's like to be way from your family and the sacrifices people make," he noted.
He can't count how many times he had stood at ceremonies and funerals… waiting for the moment to play.
He admits, when he hears those 24 notes, his own heart pounds.
"It's so solemn," Donlon noted. "I just have to remove myself and stay relaxed and focused to get through it because it's the easiest song in the world to play, but it's the hardest song in the world to play."