There is one song only that can express the gravity and sacrifice at the heart of any United States military commemoration — “Taps”.

Army Reserve Lt. Col. Philip Kowzan has played Taps at military funerals since he performed at a good friend’s funeral in 2001. Stars and Stripes reports that Kowzan has performed this heart-rending piece 1,259 times in total.

Though it is only 24 notes long, the emotional weight and grief associated with Taps often leaves listeners teary-eyed. Enjoy Kowzan’s rendition of this military musical send-off and reflect on those we’ve love and lost.