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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Long time American Legion Honor Guard member James Kirkman passes away Wednesday

BEDFORD - DECEMBER 21, 2023 - It is with great sadness to hear of the passing of iconic American Legion Post #33 Honor Guard member James Kirkman who passed away Wednesday.

Photo: American Legion Post #33 Honor Guard member James Kirkman plays during a flag raising on November 11,2023 at the post.

Kirkman would play "TAPS" at funerals., flag raisings and other events that required the honor guard.

The American Legion was blessed with great talent like Roger Gales and Jim Kirkman who could play the real deal and not a prerecorded version of "Taps.

Both men now have left a void for those who served and honored them during their graveside service.

The sounds from his trumpet would reverberate through the wind and hills of an Lawrence County cemetery as families would lay their relative who proudly serve their country's military to rest.

Video: James Kirkman plays at a flag raising November 11, 2023

Yes, this would bring a tear to the families but it honored the great sacrifice made.

Today, we honor Kirkman's memory and military service.

Bedford – James Kirkman, 80, of Bedford, passed away on Wednesday, December 20, 2023, at his residence. Born August 22, 1943, in Bedford, he was the son of Vernie and June (Thompson) Kirkman.

Photo: James Kirkman shows off his dog to the Lawrence County Zephyr November 11, 2023

He retired from General Motors where he was a fork-lift operator moving hot metal. He was a member of the Gillen Post #33 American Legion Honor Guard where he played Taps at funeral services.

He was a member of the First Baptist Church Praise Band, Bedford Nostalgia Band, the Bloomington Community Band, The Dynamics, and the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra. He loved his dogs, Charlie Three Legs and Wilbur.

Survivors include a daughter, Kellie Phillips-Ortiz and husband, Timothy, of Bedford; a sister, Bonnie Mullinax; two brothers, Vernie Daniel and Orvis Kirkman; two grandchildren, Jessica and Justin Kenney; five great-grandchildren, Bentley and Braylee Combs, Makynlee, Jayden and Clayton Kenney.

He was preceded in death by his parents, a sister, Alma Ruth Kirkman and a brother, Jonathan Kirkman.

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