ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A man used to honoring veterans in front of the masses for Memorial Day ceremonies has found a more intimate way to salute those who have lost their lives. “I can get very emotional if I let myself,” Steve Sobolik said. “When I am playing it, if I think about the price those men and women paid, I will never get through it.”
Sobolik plays “Taps” for family. “My father and two uncles served in the Army,” Sobolik said. “My wife’s brother and father served in the Navy.”
He is used to playing in front of hundreds. “I also play in the Albuquerque Concert Band,” Sobolik said. “For several years, we played at Memorial Day observations at the Veterans Memorial at Louisiana and Gibson.”
The past two years, he’s played right in his neighborhood. “This was started last year when during the pandemic, we couldn’t have the normal sorts of observances for Memorial Day,” Sobolik said. “It was a great experience, I wanted to do it again this year.”
Neighbors gathered who were unable to make their usual trip to the Santa Fe National Cemetery due to the weather. “I don’t miss if I can possibly help going to Santa Fe,” neighbor Mariam Ciepiela said. “My brother and dad are buried there. I have been going there for over 40 years and sometimes you can’t make it. This is lovely, being able to hear ‘Taps'”.
“Everyone that has come before us and everyone that is willing to lay their life on the line for people they’ve never ever met. I’m not of that stock,” neighbor Margaret Smith added. “So God, I can at least stand here in the rain.”
Sobolik continues to play to honor those who have lost their lives in service. “The best we can do I think is remember them and the sacrifices they made and try and live lives worthy of that sacrifice,” Sobolik said.
Sobolik said the Albuquerque Concert Band resumes rehearsals next week after 15 months. He hopes to be performing with the band again for Memorial Day next year.