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One trooper’s respect for the state police leads to honor guard bagpiper

September 24, 2014 | Virginia News

BLUEFIELD, Va. — Trooper Gavin Scott, a nine-year veteran with the Virginia State Police, visited with Bluefield College students Monday morning to discuss his work as a bagpiper in the department’s honor guard. The students are members of Dr. Kelly Walls criminal justice class.

Scott, a Bluefield, Va., native, told the students that the honor guard serves at the funerals of line-of-duty deaths and for retirees of the police and fire departments in Virginia.

“The honor guard and color guard are two separate things,” Scott said. He explained that the color guard appears at the opening of state ceremonies, in parades and at other events. He said the honor guard participates in memorial services for officers who died in the line of duty, police veteran retirees and fire department veterans. During his few years as a piper, Scott has piped in front of two Virginia governors as well as for memorial services throughout the state.

The state police pipers are true to the traditions of the pipers. Scott explained that during the mid-19th century when many Scots and Irish immigrants came to the United States, the only jobs they could get were in the dangerous occupations of police work and firefighting. The tradition of playing bagpipes at the funerals of their fallen comrades started at that time and continues to the present.

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