In my home, I have a guitar, a mandolin and a piano. I once owned a cello, but after years of failing to practice (and then only being able to coax agonized wails from it), I sold it.
Truth be told, I’m not particularly good with any of them. But I enjoy music enough to know that an instrument is never just an instrument.
That molded metal or string-strung box represents hopes, dreams and an appreciation for a particular kind of beauty. And when you lose one or have it taken from you, it causes a very particular kind of pain.
One Army Reservist from Elkhorn, Wisconsin, recently experienced this. According to WITI, Staff Sgt. Matt Miller was staying in a Glendale hotel on Nov. 11 — Veterans Day.
An accomplished trumpeter, he’d participated in a patriotic parade that very day. Yet when he exited the hotel, he found the window to his truck smashed, its interior coated with pebbles of safety glass.
His trumpet was also gone. Understand that this wasn’s a “beater” instrument, a rough-and-ready piece of musical equipment with no real value.
I sat down w/Staff Sgt. Matt Miller & his wife as they went through old photos from his time in the Army. Ever present is his silver Getzen b-flat trumpet, which was stolen from his truck over the weekend (on Veterans Day). Now all he wants is to get it back. #news3 pic.twitter.com/RI51AuGKK7
— Amy Reid (@amyreidreports) November 14, 2018
WMTV reported that Miller had owned the instrument for over two decades. He’d carried it while serving in Iraq.
He’d even played it during the funeral services of fallen fellow warriors. “All the experiences you have, the good and bad things you go through with a horn, you can’t describe the sentimental value that goes along with that,” he said.
Miller didn’t waste any time in looking for his instrument. He went to as many local pawn shops as he could find.
He scoured websites looking for anyone trying to hawk his beloved brass. There wasn’t a single lead.
But all hope wasn’t lost. Brett Getzen, the president of Getzen Company, which makes all sorts of brass instruments, caught wind of Miller’s plight.
“It was a very heartbreaking story to see … Matt’s trumpet get stolen on Veterans Day, which was the worst part about it,” he said. “I know personally that trumpets aren’t just things.
“There is an emotional bond to them. I still have every one that I’ve ever owned, which is quite a few.”
So Getzen decided to make things right for the veteran. His company was in the process of making a limited edition 80th anniversary line of instruments.
He asked Miller a simple question: Would he like one?
It was no question at all. “I opened it up, and I didn’t even want to touch it,” Miller said.
“It looked beautiful. I don’t even want to get fingerprints (on it).”
Getzen explained that he was just trying to support someone who had served his country. “Compared to the sacrifices he’s made, it’s nothing,” Getzen said.
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