'EchoTaps' Musicians to Honor Veterans

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 1, 2007 - Hundreds of musicians from across the country will pay tribute to the nation's fallen heroes on Armed Forces Day, May 19, in an event called "EchoTaps."

The first EchoTaps was held in 2005, when nearly 700 brass players from 30 states gathered in upstate New York to perform the military bugle call "Taps." Buglers performed a continuous cascading version of "Taps" over a 42.2-mile path between the Woodlawn National Cemetery in Elmira and Bath, N.Y.

Later at the Bath location, the players performed "Taps" en masse. The project involved 2,200 volunteers and attracted national media coverage.

This year, a national program is being planned that will stage EchoTaps at each of the 123 national cemeteries across the United States. Organizers at each location will perform a tribute based on the number of buglers, from 10 to 1,000.

Volunteers playing horns of all types will render a cascade of "Taps" at 11 a.m. local time at each site on May 19, beginning at American Battle Monuments Commission sites in the Philippines, North Africa and then throughout Europe.

A variety of programs will follow at national cemeteries, including Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, National Park Service cemeteries, and participating state veterans cemeteries across America, beginning on the East Coast and concluding in Honolulu.

EchoTaps is a cooperative effort of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Bugles Across America. The purpose of the program is to raise awareness of national cemeteries and celebrate the 60th anniversary of the VA Voluntary Service program, which uses volunteers to help provide services to veterans.

EchoTaps also is aimed at increasing the number of buglers available for military burial services, volunteerism, and exposure of the VA Voluntary Service program.

As an example of events planned, the Military Salute Project is coordinating the event at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis. The Fort Snelling Memorial Rifle Squad and the Minnesota State Band will take part.

Tribute to the Troops, a nonprofit group based in Center City, Minn., also is slated to participate. The group organizes an annual motorcycle ride and concert to raise funds for America's fallen heroes and their families and also donates proceeds to charities benefiting those who still serve, such as Fisher House and the Wounded Warriors Hospital Fund.

Tribute to the Troops is a member of America Supports You, a Defense Department program that highlights what American individuals and corporations are doing to support military members, veterans and their families.

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