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Leslie A. Penn, Published October 22 2009

Dismissed VFW bugler comes from long tradition of service

As the mother of Alexandria Davis, I feel a need to respond to a lot of the issues that have been raised.

The decision of the West Fargo VFW to use a digital bugle was never made clear to Alexandria until late after the decision was obviously made, and no one from the post ever contacted her. This decision was first said to have been for internal reasons, and now they are stating that she is not a veteran. I take issue with this for many reasons.

Does this preclude volunteers and auxiliary members who are in service to this country from providing the live taps? If this is the case, is this not also a slap to the face of those who are unable to serve due to a disability but volunteer in many other ways in service to this country?

Alexandria is blind. This is a fact of life she has had to live with since her birth, and yet this has not stopped her from trying everything she can to serve this country. She volunteers in many capacities, and by her own actions she performs many services for this country.

Also, I want to clearly state that every single generation of her family has served in the United States military. Her father, Scott Penn, will soon be deployed. Her grandfather retired from the Air Force after 20 years of service and served several tours of duty in Vietnam. Her cousin is currently deployed in Iraq. She has many other cousins who are retired from the military and several uncles who fought bravely in Vietnam and also in World War II. Every generation, back to the American Revolution, has served.

Alexandria is unable to serve due to her blindness. Does that mean what we have done in service as a family for this country does not count?

Using a fake bugle for taps is disrespectful. It has never been used at a funeral for any service member in our family and will never need to be used. The law that was passed only states that a bugle may be used if a live bugler cannot be found. Alexandria has always been ready, willing and able to perform without regard for any type of monetary payment.

We, as a family, are proud of this country and will continue in its service as we always have done. We also highly respect every single veteran and every single military member and the families of these service people. Without them, we would be nothing.