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Yellowstone National Cemetery resting place for vet who plays Taps at his own funeral

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Posted at 10:27 PM, May 17, 2024

Family and friends bid farewell to a man who honored veterans by playing the bugle at hundreds of funerals.

Burt Gigoux, U.S. Marine Corps veteran, was laid to rest at the Yellowstone National Cemetery in Laurel on Friday.

He played taps at funerals and at events such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

Gigoux also played a big part in the cemetery, serving on the steering committee and as chair of the board, as shown on a plaque.

Even in death, Burt is doing what few if any have ever done for decades.

He was the bugler providing closure to families playing at the funerals of around 550 veterans.

The service came full circle as Gigoux performed for one last time, this time at his own funeral.

“Left me instructions and the recording of him playing Taps,” said Anita Gigoux, Bert’s widow. “It's like, ok, this is what he wants.”

And while 550 funerals would be hard to remember, Anita says her late husband made each and every one of them personal.

“He wanted to know the name of the military person that was being buried,” Anita said. “He said, I just want to know the person who served their country.”

Bill Kennedy, Billings city councilman, became good friends with Burt while working on the Big Sky Honor Flight to take veterans to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Kennedy and Gigoux made another connection while putting flags on the graves of forgotten veterans at the Riverside Cemetery in the heights.

“Bert said, ‘you know, Kennedy, I need to talk to you’ and that started a lasting friendship for us," Kennedy said. “And,, he said, ‘I want to talk about a national cemetery.’”

And now Burton Ray Gigoux's ashes are buried at the cemetery which he helped open 10 years ago on Memorial Day.

While working on the cemetery in 2008, he told Q2:
“I imagine taps out there will be sweeter than any place I've ever played.”