Tens of thousands participate in Steve Hartman's "Taps Across America"

Musicians play "Taps" across America

Last Updated May 26, 2020 7:23 PM EDT

Steve Hartman had a musical request to honor America's fallen heroes on Memorial Day. To say we were "blown away" by the result would be an understatement.

Chris Siegenthaler performed for no one in particular.

"You hope they hear the song," he told CBS News. "You hope they pause for a minute and understand the message that you're trying to send."

And Chris wasn't alone. Across the country and around the world, buglers and trumpet players joined together to play "Taps" on Monday for what turned out to be one of the largest musical performances of all time.

Tens of thousands of soloists — all playing in unison.

Last week, Hartman reached out to Jari Villanueva — who has a group called Taps for Veterans — and explained his vision.  Hartman could almost feel him smiling on the other end of the line.

"Great minds think alike, you know," Villanueva said.

He knew "Taps" would be the perfect song for this imperfect time.

"It's not only a military call but also a call that reassures us," Villanueva added.

So together, "On the Road" promoted "Taps Across America."

The response was breathtaking.

Coming up tonight on the CBS Evening News: Taps Across America

When we announced #TapsAcrossAmerica last week, we had no idea what kind of response to expect. Suffice to say, we are awestruck by the tens of thousands of unique and moving tributes we've seen. Steve will share much more on tonight's CBS Evening News with Norah O'Donnell about the incredible response to #CBSTaps. We hope you'll join us.

Posted by On the Road with Steve Hartman on Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Literally from the mountains, to the prairies to every elevation in between — people from all walks of life walked outside to play in parking lots and national parks — beside lakes, and rivers and oceans.

The musicians were some of the best — like Ethan Bensdorf with the New York Philharmonic — and some of the greenest — like 9-year-old Caitlyn Sanders from Ellicott City, Maryland, who spent all weekend learning.

But no matter what the skill level — no matter what the stage, setting, or instrument — the mood and message echoed just the same that we are a country of patriots.

"Having something like this, maybe every Memorial Day will continue forever," Villanueva said.


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