At the age of 10, Chris Hughes was asked to play trumpet at a Memorial Day service in Greenwich. The event inspired him to join the military and later plan veterans' events in town.
"Every year I would listen to the veterans talk about what it was to be in the service and the camaraderie and professionalism," Hughes said. "And I decided in 1987 to join myself."
He joined the Marine Corps and served for five years. In 1992, he got a call to play trumpet at a flag-raising at Tod's Point. "I just got out of the Marines and had a bit of background with event planning, and that's how we started to salute the vets," he said. "I saw it as a great idea because I was able to put active duty military people face-to-face with our town."
Though proud of his military service, Hughes describes himself as not overboard. "There are some people who are zealots about vets, and it annoys me that we have vets who want everything in the world for free," he said.
Hughes said more than 150 people have said they or their children have joined the military because of the events he's planned in Greenwich.
This year he's planning the memorial for the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. Hughes said the event is about letting the victims' families know "we're still here."
Today, Hughes runs Boattest.com, a marketing and sales firm in Stamford. As for his trumpet playing, Hughes went to Juilliard, played on Broadway and still performs in Greenwich.
"I ended up playing for about 20 different funerals for NYC police and firemen after 9/11," he said. "I felt honored to be a part of that and the way I was able to do it was with my trumpet."
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