IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WZMQ) – In a poignant tribute to Veterans’ Day, Dr. Fornetti of Fornetti Dental paused his free dental care initiative for veterans at precisely 11:00 am on Saturday, marking the 9th consecutive year of this compassionate gesture. In a heartfelt speech, Dr. Fornetti highlighted the historical significance of the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, tying it to the armistice signed in 1918.
Reflecting on the wartime atmosphere, he emphasized the gravity of the cease-fire and the deafening silence that followed, commemorating the 2738 lives lost on that day.
“It’s interesting to actually think about what was happening. The armistice was signed earlier, and then the cease-fire was supposed to start at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, so they knew when the war was going to end,” Dr. Fornetti stated. “To actually think about that, and try to put yourselves in the battlefield of what that was like. Moments before that time it was constant battle constant fighting, and the noise, the smells, literally the smell of death, gunpowder, and just the gravity of all that. 2738 men that died that last day some of the moments before 11 o’clock,” he continued.
Dr. Fornetti expressed gratitude for the opportunity to serve living veterans, and urged everyone to remember those who sacrificed their lives in all wars, adding:
“And then think about maybe 11 o’clock, and maybe then they heard the loudest thing that they haven’t heard before: a deafening silence. Maybe for the first time in a couple of years, maybe they heard songbirds. Stuff that they hadn’t even thought about. Like that, the war was over. Those 2738 men that died that day… think even though Veterans Day is really for all of you living in Veterans that we are so honored to serve, I think we should take a moment and remember those that have fallen in all wars, and that’s why now you’ll hear the 24 melancholy notes of taps.”
Against this emotional backdrop, the ceremony featured Juliana Tapio, a junior trumpet player at Iron Mountain High School. Selected to play taps, Tapio shared her journey, recounting how her band director approached her for the honor.
“So my band Director Craig Recla, he talked to me on Wednesday, and he said that they needed someone, and they gave me a phone number, and then they also called my mom because I did this last year, so my mom kind of helped me,” stated Tapio.
As the first chair among five, her seniority secured the role, and she described the responsibility of playing taps for funerals in the women’s auxiliary.
“I got asked to join the auxiliary, the women’s auxiliary, to play taps for funerals. I don’t know if I’m going to do that, but I might go to college to play jazz band,” Tapio informed.
Tapio expressed her deep appreciation for the honor, acknowledging the emotional impact of the taps melody on people she plays for. Despite her uncertain future in the auxiliary, she revealed aspirations to pursue jazz band opportunities in college.
“I just want to say that it’s such an honor to play this song because I know how much it means to so many people and I love when people I know it sounds weird but when they tear up because I just know that I’ve touched them, and it just means so much,” expressed Tapio.
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