It was Memorial Day, 2006, as members of the Muchachos Drum and Bugle Corps brass section silently took their places in front of the 20 white granite monuments that surround the grand flag at the New Hampshire State Veteran’s Cemetery in Boscawen, NH. One by one, players sounded Taps, in echo form, with a lone bugler sounding a solo echo at the end. It was called and was the beginning of something very special.
On Memorial Day, 2007, what started as “An Evening of Echo Taps” the year before, had grown into the 100 Nights of Remembrance. The goal was to have a live bugler sound Taps for the 100 nights between Memorial Day and September 11th as a simple show of respect and honor to those Americans who have sacrificed and served our country honorably in any branch of the United States Armed Forces. Members of the Muchachos were joined by other brass players from the community, some of which would travel an hour to sound those 24 solemn notes, and some learned to play just so they could participate. At precisely 7:00PM there was a live bugler each of those first 100 nights.
This Memorial Day marks another year of providing this simple, yet powerful tribute to our fallen heroes. What makes the live sounding of Taps so meaningful? Why do people travel to hear a simple 24 note melody echo through the summer air? It depends on the individual. For many of the nightly visitors to the NH State Veterans Cemetery, it brings closure and peace. For others, it is a time of reflection and introspection while they visit the graves of loved ones who lost their lives fighting for our country. And for others still, it is an opportunity to meet up with other veterans and their spouses to share stories and friendship. For everyone it brings two minutes of silence and often a tear.
The players, or “Knights” as they are called, are not required to have a military background and there is no age restriction. The only requirement is that they are able to sound Taps correctly and commit to a minimum of 3 nights a year. Many of the Knights are civilians who have never served and are just looking for a way to give back. “The 100 Nights of Remembrance is very near and dear to me.” Says founder, Noel Taylor. “We have a dedicated group of volunteer “Knights” whose commitment to this [100 Nights] has allowed us to keep this going over the past seven years. I can’t say enough about the men, women, and youngsters, who make a point to participate each year.”
“The public is always invited to join the Knights each night through the summer”, Taylor continued, “A calendar is posted on the website: www.100nightsofremembrance.org where you can see if a bugler is scheduled for the evening you plan to visit the cemetery.” We could use more Knights this year, so if you are a brass player and would like to participate, please contact the 100 Nights for more information.
The New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery is open to the public seven days a week. Walking through the grounds can be peaceful and inspirational as well as interesting and educational. Be sure to visit the Memorial Walk where monuments representing all of the branches of the United States Armed Services are there in addition to other commemorative plaques and sculptures.
For more information please contact:
Noel Taylor, Director, 100 Nights of Remembrance- firstname.lastname@example.org