Sunday, May 22, 2005

Echo Taps Project

Buglers Scarce for Veterans' Funerals - EarthLink - Top News

Link from Lucianne.

This would have been fun to see and hear yesterday.
BATH, N.Y. - It began with three haunting notes from a teenage girl. A second bugler, about 100 yards down the road, picked up the tune. And then a third. More than 850 buglers, trumpeters and other horn players fanned out Saturday along 41 miles of roads in rural western New York and performed a cascading rendition of taps to highlight the scarcity of buglers at veterans' funerals.

The 24-note melody started up at Woodlawn National Cemetery in Elmira, overlapped from one instrument to the next as it reverberated through a string of small towns from Painted Post to Campbell to Savona, and closed out nearly three hours later at Bath National Cemetery.

The Armed Forces Day tribute, dubbed Echo Taps, took in at least 866 musicians from 30 states playing all varieties of brass horns, from trombones and tubas to flugelhorns and valveless bugles.

An average of 1,800 U.S. veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam die per day. There are not nearly enough buglers to perform live renditions at military funerals.

Taps is usually delivered digitally, using either a compact disc player placed near the grave or, increasingly since 2003, a Pentagon-approved, push-button "ceremonial bugle" that anyone can mimic playing by raising it to their lips.

The armed forces have about 500 musicians who perform taps, but many of them have been dispatched to Iraq and Afghanistan. About 3,800 civilian volunteers in the four-year-old Bugles Across America group also fill in wherever they can.

The Echo Taps project aims to honor military service, enlist more volunteer buglers and raise the profile of America's 120 national cemeteries.

See EchoTaps and Bugles Across America for more information.

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