Taps

By Greg Means/Beacon Editor

Ninty-one-year-old World War II veteran Bernard Kersting played taps May 27 at the Fruitland Township Memorial Day Service.

Bernard Kersting, a World War II veteran and member of the Don Rea VFW Post 8846 in North Muskegon, may have played his last Memorial Day taps.

Kersting played his trumpet at the Fruitland Township Memorial Day Service at the township cemetery on Monday morning, May 27.

Standing at the base of a tree, Kersting played the 21-note taps followed by an echo played by recent Whitehall High School graduate Patrick Bouman.

“This might be my last taps,” Kersting said after the ceremony. “I’m going to be 92 in June and my wife is dealing with dementia.”

Kersting was scheduled to play taps at a veteran’s graveside service the following day.

He said he has been playing taps the last six or seven years.

The veteran said he served in World War II in Europe. He was a member of the U.S. Army’s 28th Infantry Division which, Kersting said, was nicknamed “The Bloody Bucket Division.” The members of the 28th landed in Normandy, France in 1944 seven weeks after the initial D-Day invasion. Kersting said the division pushed the Natzi forces into Germany, fought in the famous Battle of the Bulge, and marched into Bastogne, Belgium.

Earlier, Kersting said he served in the Merchant Marines.

‘I did my little bit to keep our country free. I’m proud to be a vet and happy to be alive.”

After his service, Kersting worked for the railroad before retiring.