A Pause to Remember: Owensboro woman stops for ‘Taps’ every day

A Pause to Remember: Owensboro woman stops for ‘Taps’ every day
Updated: Jul. 1, 2020 at 8:46 PM CDT
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OWENSBORO, KY. (WFIE) - If you take a stroll through Smothers Park in Owensboro, there’s one thing you can expect to hear every night, seven days a week. The VFW Post 696 plays “Taps” to remember the lives lost for our freedom.

It echoes across the riverfront evening after evening, rain or shine. Members at the VFW started this evening tradition in February of 2017. Not long after, a woman named Kelly O’Connor stumbled upon the tribute.

“I wasn’t sure if I should keep walking or stop or what, so when it was over, I came over and asked what was going on,” she said.

Matt Brenner, who usually plays the bugle, explained “Taps” to her. He says it’s about putting the day to rest and the names on the monument are people from Daviess County who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

It was at that moment, she decided she would come back, but it wasn’t just once. Kelly, and her two dogs Maddie and Nema, have been stopping by nearly every day for over two years. The gesture means the world to the veterans who surround the monument each evening.

“It swells my heart. It makes me feel good,” said VFW member Joey Benningfield. “To know we have people out there that care other than veterans because we fought for ya’ll.”

Now, Kelly uses it as a teaching moment.

“That’s part of the reason why we stay over here on the sidewalk,” she said. “It’s so we can explain it to people as they pass by. And if they see an old lady and two dogs participating, then anybody can.”

She encourages everyone to stop by and says all you need to do is put your hand on your heart.

She says it’s a small gesture for a big sacrifice, which is why when you ask how long she plans to make the trip she’ll say, “As long as we can. We just keep going and are thankful every day that we can do it and spend that time with these people.”

If you want to stop for “Taps”, it’s played every evening at 6:00 p.m. at the memorial in front of the VFW Post 696.

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