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How to participate in Steve Hartman's "Taps Across America"

Veteran trumpet and bugle players discuss the power of playing "Taps"
Veteran trumpet and bugle players discuss the power of playing "Taps" 02:46

Memorial Day celebrations across the U.S. will look a bit different this year, with most picnics, parades, and services canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. That's why CBS News "On the Road" correspondent Steve Hartman is teaming up with retired Air Force bugler Jari Villanueva to keep the spirit of the holiday alive.

Hartman and Villanueva are asking veterans, musicians, teachers, and students of all abilities and ages to sound Taps on their front lawns, porches, and driveways at 3 p.m. local time on Monday, May 25.

Taps is instantly recognizable as the somber 24-note bugle call played at American military funerals and ceremonies. Hartman and Villanueva hope that the nationwide event will offer an opportunity to pause for a moment to pay tribute to fallen service members and victims of the coronavirus pandemic while maintaining social distancing guidelines.

Jari Villanueva

Hartman was inspired by a story he did in 2012 on Don Brittain, who sounded Taps on his balcony at sunset. Hartman thought other trumpet players could do the same.

Independently, Villanueva had virtually the same idea for a Memorial Day tribute. Villanueva retired from the United States Air Force at the rank of Master Sergeant, after 23 years playing with the United States Air Force Band at Arlington National Cemetery. His organization Taps for Veterans helps match live buglers and trumpet players with military families for funerals and ceremonies.

If you'd like to dust off your trumpet or bugle and sound the call, here's what you need to know:

Who can participate?

Anyone who can sound Taps on a trumpet, bugle, or similar instrument.

When should I sound Taps?

Monday, May 25 (Memorial Day) at 3 p.m. in your time zone.


Should I record myself sounding Taps?

Yes — we plan to show some of your videos on "CBS Evening News" on Tuesday. See below for tips on filming and how to submit your video.

How do I sound Taps?

Find the sheet music here. Villanueva recommends playing in the key of B flat, if possible.

Where should I play?

Your front yard, porch, balcony, driveway, etc. — anywhere you can be socially distant from neighbors and passerby. Feel free to alert your neighbors so they can come listen from a safe distance.

What should I do if I hear Taps?

If you hear Taps being sounded, you should respond as you do for the national anthem: Stand, face the music and place your hand over your heart.

TFV bulgers at Arlington National Cemetary

On Tuesday's "CBS Evening News," we'll share videos of some of the participants. Here are some tips to help you record your video:

What should I use to record a video of myself?

Any phone with a video camera works — you don't need any fancy equipment. Just place your phone somewhere stable, or have someone with steady hands hold it in one place. Hold the phone horizontally, not vertically, so your video is wider than it is tall. Record the whole performance. If neighbors or friends come to listen, get a shot of them too!

How do I share my video with CBS?

Tag us in your video on social media with the hashtag #CBSTaps, or upload it to this folder. Please include your full name and location in the file name, if possible.

To contact On the Road, or to send us a story idea, email us:  

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