WWII veteran fulfills promise by playing Taps at friend's grave

Posted at 6:36 PM, Nov 10, 2016

When the friend of a World War II veteran died, Tom Sitter made him a promise. He would visit his grave and play Taps. 

But his friend, Eddie Toporsh, died in 2002. As the years went on following his death, Sitter said the promise he made kept eating away at him. 

"In a way, I felt a little guilty about not doing it but I knew Eddie where ever he is would understand," said Sitter. "But the more I thought about it, I've been out here many times, and I thought ... I'm going to do it." 

After 14 years, that promise was finally fulfilled on Thursday when Sitter traveled to the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Union Grove, Wisconsin to visit Toporsh's grave. 

But it's been more than 70 years since Sitter has played the bugle. He purchased a WWII-era bugle off the internet and spent the last five months practicing. 

"Eddie right now is laughing at me for hitting a couple frogs," said Sitter. 

Sitter and Toporsh met when they were in the Army's 29th Calvary unit during WWII. 

"We ended up going over in France," said Sitter. "I had my bugle with me. I never got a chance, never was asked to use it, didn't want to use it. I didn't want to draw any attention to myself under fire." 

They came back to the U.S. right before the war ended. 

"They were preparing for the invasion of Japan at that time," said Sitter. "We would have been part of that invasion. Thank God the war ended though."

Sitter says he doesn't know why Toporsh asked him to play Taps, but he remembered him always being emotional about things. 

"When we were going overseas, we were on the boat together and he says 'I know I'm going to killed, I want you take Eddie Jr., I want you to take Eddie, adopt him'" said Sitter. "I said I'll do it, you're not going to get killed." 

Sitter always remained close with Toporsh's son, who came to the cemetery Thursday to watch Sitter play at his father's grave. 

"He'd be happy, he'd really be happy," said Eddie Toporsh Jr.