Reporter’s call for ‘Taps Across America’ honors the fallen on Memorial Day

Updated: May. 29, 2021 at 8:19 AM EDT
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NEW YORK (CBS News) - People across the country will honor America’s fallen service members on Memorial Day, but a reporter hopes the observance will include a special nationwide musical performance.

Last year, CBS’s Steve Hartman asked musicians to play taps at 3 p.m. sharp. With Memorial Day parades and ceremonies canceled because of the pandemic, tens of thousands of buglers and trumpeters played to honor America’s patriots.

It became one of the largest musical performances of all time.

From coast to coast, the musicians of all skill levels created “Taps Across America.”

“I was not surprised, I was blown away that everybody felt as I did, that this is what America needed right now,” Hartman said.

The idea came from a story Hartman did nine years ago with Don Brittain from Tacoma, Washington. Brittain played taps every day at sunset to honor America’s veterans.

“I’m in another zone when I’m playing. I’m not aware of anything but the fact that I’m playing this and I’m trying to play it as best as I can and do a good job,” Brittain said.

“What struck me most about that story was not just the playing of the taps, but when the neighbors came out and stood on their balconies, on their porch,” Hartman says. “And it blew me away, it brought me to tears in the moment.”

It’s a moment so moving he wants all Americans to experience it.

“Even if they don’t remember I was a journalist, if they remember I had anything to do with starting ‘Taps Across America,’ that’s fine with me. Life well served,” Hartman says.

Once again, Hartman is asking musicians to sound those 24 notes Monday at 3 p.m. sharp local time, so those who hear taps will stop and remember America’s fallen.

Hartman hopes “Taps Across America’' will become a national tradition.

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