True to the SPA/Veracity spirit of serving one’s community and the nation, a staff member organized a neighborhood Memorial Day tribute of special significance this year. Featuring thirteen local musicians ranging in age from high school students to retired military veterans, the group played a cascading version of Echo Taps, interspersed on local streets.
The buglers, spread 500 to 700 feet apart throughout the northern Virginia neighborhood, passed the call by sharing the first and last bars of Taps, creating a solemnly beautiful effect throughout the community. The musicians were recruited from local high school bands, Bugles Across America, the Boy Scouts, and neighborhood families. Wevley, a retired Navy captain and himself a bugler, organized the group on relatively short notice, bringing most of them together for the first time just before the service.
In these times of social distancing, he relied on email, Zoom meetings, and PowerPoint to pull the event together. Despite the logistical challenges, he knew the power of Taps could make a lasting difference to his neighbors. “One of the great honors of being a trumpet player is being able to play Taps. We have a few here in the neighborhood who lost loved ones in 9/11. This is a very important day for our neighbors and for ourselves.”
After a 30-minute rehearsal, the playing of Taps began promptly at 10:00 a.m. on Memorial Day. As the solemnity echoed through the streets, instilling a quiet sense of awe, one of the young buglers, a high school senior, said it was “something I will remember for the rest of my life. It was an opportunity for me to be a part of something bigger than myself and remember those who sacrificed for our freedoms.” Even with little time to rehearse, the event was so well received by applauding neighbors that one of the buglers, another high school senior, spontaneously suggested repeating the performance a few blocks over. The group eagerly did so and was again met by many appreciative members of that community. Declaring it to be “really quite a phenomenal event,” Wevley hopes to repeat and enlarge the cascading Echo Taps concept for future Memorial Days.