“Reactions ranged from bemused to irate,” she said. “But honestly? Smyrna has planes, trains and, now, trumpets.”
Well, not exactly.
The Giant Voice system actually plays recorded versions of “Reveille” at 8 a.m. and the national anthem at 4 p.m. for the daily “retreat.”
Dobbins spokesman Capt. Patrick Simmons said the system was put in place to alert staff at Dobbins and across the base at the Clay National Guard Center to potential emergencies. The daily calls allow both for the system to be tested and as a way to observe military tradition.
Though it is “somewhat independent,” Simmons said the Clay system plays the same calls seven days a week, compared to just Monday through Friday at Dobbins. But in response to the concerns being expressed, he said Clay is cutting back to five days a week, while calls have been made to vendors to come in and lower the volume slightly.
Simmons said there have been more complaints on the Clay side, around the southern end of the base, because it is in a more residential area.
“It takes a little bit of time to make adjustments,” Simmons said.
At the same time, Simmons said the Giant Voice will need to remain loud enough to be heard around the base.
The system cost $250,000 to install as part of a U.S. Department of Defense mandate that military bases comply with its digital notification system. Simmons said it replaces an antiquated 20-year-old analog alarm system.
“Some of the speakers did not work,” he said. “It did not provide for the emergency notification we require.”
Anulewicz admits to being taken by surprise when she first heard the morning call at her home, located near the Smyrna Market Village. She initially thought it came from the nearby Fire Station No. 1.
While some people have complained about the calls waking them up in the morning, others have embraced the patriotic music, Anulewicz said.
“I’ve heard some people say that it makes them feel safer because it reminds them that they live close to a military base,” she said.
Simmons said the tradition of bugle calls at military bases goes back to pre-Civil War days.
“It’s part of our identity,” he said. “We do value the local community, and we have taken the needs of the local community into consideration as we set times.”