Pause measured in 24 notes — ‘Taps’

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton Gary Finger plays Taps at Washington Park on Monday afternoon.

Many of the public observances that traditionally mark Memorial Day remembrance can’t occur this year.

But that doesn’t mean that people aren’t pausing to remember what the day is about.

At Washington Park on Monday afternoon, that pause wasn’t measured in minutes or seconds; it was measured in notes — 24 distinctly American notes that we know as “Taps.”

The movement on Monday started with a CBS Evening News report where “On The Road” correspondent Steve Harman teamed up with a retired Air Force bugler, Jari Villanueva.

They encouraged people to stop at 3 p.m. and play Taps on a bugle or trumpet, going so far as to provide the sheet music.

Gary Finger saw that report and decided to play the 24-note salute from the heights of Washington Park.

He acknowledged that part of the motivation was that the public observances normally held had to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finger decided to “do some little thing to commemorate” the lives lost in service to the country as well as those who have served and are living and those who serve currently.

Floyd Moore played on Monday at Soldiers and Sailors Park and told the Times Observer his motivation was to play was to honor his dad.

“He was in the Air Force and passed away in October last year,” he said. “It was also to honor over one million veterans who gave their lives for me and our country.”

What we now know as “Taps” originated as a US Army bugle call that predates the Civil War.

During the Civil War, it was initially implemented as a “lights out” call but quickly became an element of military cemeteries, where it has been heard for over the last 150 years with regularity throughout our nation’s conflicts.


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