FORT WORTH, Texas -- Of all the loves in Estanislao "Tany" Rodriguez's life, the trumpet is right at the top of the list.
He's been playing for 55 years. It was no surprise to his son, Jorge, when he came over on Memorial Day with his trumpet and serenaded the neighborhood with the National Anthem.
"He just begins to play, so mellow and so beautiful," Jorge says. "As soon as he finished, people here down the block, they're just clapping."
What was a surprise, however, is what happened after that.
As the night went on, people all over Fort Worth watched in awe as a mystery man got out of his truck and spontaneously played the Star Spangled Banner.
"As soon as he began to play, everybody stopped, mid-syllable," says Elisa Burns, who witnessed it happen on Magnolia Avenue. "Everybody stopped and stood."
That man, it turns out, was Tany Rodriguez.
"He calls me again, and he's like 'I'm playing again!'" Jorge recalls, laughing. "And I'm just like 'Dad, get out of here, what are you doing? You need to go home!'"
The thing was, Tany had been home. And it was there he was so overcome with emotion about Memorial Day that he put his trumpet back in his truck and headed out.
"I have to do this because when people hear my trumpet, they're going to start thinking a little bit about the people who made the sacrifice," Tany said.
It is a sacrifice he doesn't take lightly.
After a childhood spent traveling Mexico as a self-taught trumpet player with a circus, Rodriguez says he came to the United States in 1977 in search of a better life. He became a CNC machinist, giving up his trumpet playing for years so he could make a life for his family. He says he never lost sight of why life here is so good -- our veterans, including his own son Jorge, who became a Marine.
"I don’t know how to explain this in English, but," Tany says, and begins speaking in Spanish to his son.
"He says if he could’ve been in the military and served, he would’ve," Jorge translates.
In total, Tany, who is 64-years-old and recently retired, says he stopped and played the national anthem about 10 times that night. And each time, he says, reaction from bystanders was that of gratitude. It's gratitude he felt, too.
"On my way home, when I came back, I was crying," he says.
A love of country shared in the most tender of ways.