Musicians come together for new ‘Taps’ tribute tradition on Memorial Day

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A new Memorial Day tradition is bringing together musicians across the country to perform Taps.

People gathered at Memorial Park Funeral Home and Cemetery for a ceremony Monday to honor those lost. With many ceremonies closed to the public or cancelled due to the pandemic, people found other way to recognize the true meaning of this day.

Musicians across the country answered CBS Correspondent Steve Hartman’s call to play Taps at three o’clock on Memorial Day to honor our fallen heroes.

“The music itself will touch you but when you know the words that go along with it. It’s just beautiful,” said Janice Marie Davis, a retired Shelby County Schools music teacher.

The tradition began last year when COVID cancelled Memorial Day events bringing Mid-South musicians out to play in tribute.

SCS band director Mary Armstrong played Taps using her father’s bugle. He served during Vietnam and always instilled in her the significance of this day.

“He taught me at a very young age that it’s very important to show respect to those who have served and especially those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” Armstrong said.

Her husband’s grandfather, Corporal Milton Bill Armstrong served as a paratrooper in World War Two. She played thinking of his life and service that ended September 25, 1944 in Holland.

“Freedom does not come free. It’s because of those soldiers who fought for us and our freedom are why we enjoy today,” Armstrong said.

Davis said the sacrifices of service members should not be forgotten on Memorial Day.

“It’s beautiful to know people are aware, they are aware. They don’t just use this day to barbecue and have parties and stuff like that, but they are really aware of people that have sacrificed for us,” she said.

The hope is to make this an annual tradition even beyond the pandemic.

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