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10th Tightlines for Troops Taps into souls of veterans

May 20, 2019 GMT

MANISTEE — In the dawn of silence and solace, even the gulls soared quietly through the faint morning mist.

Encircled by a flotilla of Inland Seas fishing vessels, Air Force veteran John Stocki raised his bugle heavenward. As more than 200 fellow veterans stood in the serenity of the moment on the decks of those boats just yards off the Manistee Lighthouse and Pier, they solemnly raised their right hands to their brows and saluted the soul-stirring anthem that is their common bond – taps.

And then, when Steve MacNeil played “Amazing Grace” on his bagpipes, the beginning of the tournament was complete. It was, a bond of brothers — again.


That is the way the 10th Annual Tightlines for Troops fishing tournament began on Saturday — the same as way the previous nine — with the playing of taps to remember and honor their fallen comrades.

“It’s heartwarming, heartwarming,” Stocki said of the song. “Every time I hear it, I think of our veterans, of The (Vietnam) Wall and its meaning, of all those who served and sacrificed, and it hits hard.”

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