Veteran honors fallen soldiers with 'Taps' year round at Florida beach

INDIAN ROCKS, Fla. —There are only a few nights each year U.S. Army Veteran Ken Deka isn’t playing his bugle at Indian Rocks beach. But on this Memorial Day he braved the rains and wind to play "Taps" for the fallen.

Taps is most often heard at a military funeral or during flag ceremonies. The song means something different to Deka.

“It’s a way of saying 'goodbye.' Well out here when I play Taps at sunset it’s more saying 'goodnight.' I come back the next day,” Deka said.

ABC Action News reporter Michael Paluska interviewed Deka just before the sunset at Indian Rocks beach. Minutes before Deka arrived with his bugle it was cloudy and raining.  As soon as Deka showed up and placed his flags in the sand, the skies cleared and the sun broke through.

“I play Taps here every night,” Deka said. "A lot of people come out to see me. It’s gotten to be a tourist attraction of sorts. One of the questions they ask me a lot is why do I do it.  And I do it to honor the men that paid the ultimate price. I think this is beautiful: come out here and watch the sunset and hearing Taps go with it it just goes together.”

Deka was stationed in Alabama during the Vietnam war at a helicopter training post.

Deka plays for the men and women that have made the ultimate sacrifice and for his 
brother Ronald “Ronnie” Deka, who served in Vietnam and died 5 years ago.

Nearly every night, once the sun fully sets Deka grabs his bugle and plays the haunting notes. 

On this Memorial Day a small crowd gathered to listen. Some were just passing by. Others were eating at a restaurant across the street and were told that a man normally plays Taps at the beach every night, so they waited for Deka to show up.  

After he played they thanked him and took a photo with Deka. 

Deka waved goodbye to his fans and loaded up his bugle.

If you want to see Deka he plays nearly every night at Indian Rocks beach near the water just past the public parking lot.

“I usually take days like this off because it’s cloudy, rainy and you know I take windy days off too usually,” Deka said. “I couldn’t miss today, rain or shine I would’ve been here.”

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