Area musicians take part in Taps Across America on Memorial Day

Michael D. Smith
The Daily Ardmoreite

As most families enjoyed a three-day weekend, some were using Memorial Day to mourn their losses and remember fallen service members. For some who spent Monday afternoon outdoors, the faint melody of Taps may have been heard around 3 o’clock. 

“As a player, I like to honor our veterans any chance I get,” said Carson Dill, an incoming senior at Ardmore High School. He took part in Taps Across America, an initiative started in 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic cancelled Memorial Day ceremonies across the country. 

Carson Dill practices his trumpet for Taps Across America. The Ardmore High School senior was joined by thousands of musicians across the country that played Taps, the National Call of Remembrance, at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day Monday, May 31, 2021.

Taps Across America calls on musicians to play Taps at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day. Musicians were invited to register online and share photos and videos of their performances online.  

The 24 notes unique to the United States military are also known as the National Call of Remembrance. According to the Association of the United States Army, the military bugle call in its current form traces its origins to the Civil War and has been played at military funerals and memorial services since at least 1862. 

The Taps Across America initiative is sponsored by Taps For Veterans, an organization that finds buglers for funerals and memorial services. It was founded in 2012 by Jari Villanueva, a retired United States Air Force Band member who served as a bugler at Arlington Nation Cemetery for 23 years.

Ardmore High School fine arts director Chauvin Aaron said Taps Across America gives his students a unique way to honor service members who have died. Since this year’s Memorial Day ceremony in Ardmore was scheduled at the same time as the high school graduation last Friday, high school musicians were unable to perform during the ceremony. 

With Taps Across America, local artists were still able to take part in remembering fallen service members. 

“I think it’s so important for our kids to understand Veterans’ Day, Memorial Day and participate in honoring the fallen and those who are still with us,” said Aaron. He also planned on taking a brief moment to play Taps before traveling on Monday and to remember an uncle, CJ Douglas, who died from an illness connected to military service during the Persian Gulf War between 1990 and 1991. 

Dill had grandfather Billy Joe Sharp, Sr., an army medic during World War II, on his mind during Taps Across America. The teen has played trumpet for about six year and said he feels an obligation to use his artistic talents to remember service members and honor their sacrifices. 

“As a player, I like to honor our veterans any way I can. I feel like it’s part of my duty as a player. I feel like everybody in the arts has a duty to that,” said Dill.