BOULDER, Colo. — For the second year in a row, the streets of Boulder will be quiet on Memorial Day. The traditional BOLDERBoulder 10K race will not be run, which means race organizers will not host a Memorial Day tribute at the finish line in Folsom Field.
That also means no one in Boulder will get to hear 97-year-old Stewart Boone play his trumpet like he has at every race since 2003.
You can watch Stewart in the 2021 BOLDERBoulder Memorial Day Tribute Monday, May 31 at 11:30 a.m. on Denver7 and again at 3:30 p.m. on Local3.
Boone started playing the trumpet when his dad came home with one when he was in the fifth grade. In those days, he played to be part of the band. Nearly 90 years later, the World War II vet continues to play for a greater purpose.
“People say, ‘Well, how come you enjoy playing soldier years after its over?’ I say, 'We’re not playing soldier, we’re here because of some that couldn’t be here,'” Boone said.
During WWII, Boone was part of the 924th Field Artillery Battalion, 99th Infantry Division. Among his mementos from his time on the front lines in Europe is a hand-drawn map detailing what happened to his unit during the Battle of the Bulge, one of the deadliest battles in U.S. military history.
“In my field artillery unit, there were 70 people with different assignments,” Boone said. “Only 50 of those got to figure a way to get back.”
Boone was one of the “Lucky 11,” the only ones in the unit not captured or killed.
“You hate the loss of those not pictured there, but we all did what we had to do,” he said.
Decades later, Boone has dedicated his life to honoring those who lost their lives fighting for their country. He plays his trumpet at military funerals, in parades, the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., and sporting events like baseball games and the BOLDERBoulder — an event he says his son was involved in and thought dad should be, too.
“They said, ‘We need a bugler for this upcoming event,’ and he said, ‘My dad can take care of that for you,’ so that's how it got started,” Boone recalled.
Boone said he’s ready to return to Boulder to play again should he be called. Until then, he just continues to practice his favorite songs.
“My favorite song nowadays is 'God Bless the USA' by Lee Greenwood, so I like to play that on occasion," he said.
You can watch Stewart in the 2021 BOLDERBoulder Memorial Day Tribute Monday, May 31 at 11:30am on Denver7 and again at 3:30 on Local3.