▶ Watch Video: Taps Across America brings people together across the country

From the rooftops of America’s biggest cities to the country roads far from them, Americans of all stripes came together for what is now a tradition. On Memorial Day at 3 p.m., thousands joined for the annual nationwide performance of Taps. 

Some players, like 70-year-old Michael Stanton of Dearborn, Michigan, learned how to play the trumpet just for this, while many others were returning professionals. Although abilities varied widely, the commitment was all first chair.

Paul Freeburg, 85, of Surprise, Arizona, played in 100-degree heat. Others stood in the pouring rain. It was like nothing could stop them from playing these pointed rounds.

And as a result, Taps Across America was hard to escape.

Whether you were at a racetrack in Louisville or a plain old parking lot outside Lowe’s, you couldn’t help but pay tribute. Whether you had your feet in the sand or your head in the clouds, you couldn’t help but be reminded of the reason for the holiday. 

We’ll never know exactly how many people took part, but based on the video submissions we received, it was certainly in the thousands. Making this — again — one of the largest musical performances of all time.

“Now we’ve created this awareness,” said Jari Villanueva, who is with Taps for Veterans and helped organize the event. “I hope that this continues. It really is something that unifies us as Americans.” 

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