May 7, 2007
HOUSTON — The Houston VA National Cemetery, located at 10410 Veterans Memorial Drive, will participate in the “EchoTaps Worldwide” event by holding a special ceremony on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 19, 2007 at 10 a.m.
In May 2005, an event called “EchoTaps” was performed in upstate New York in which 674 brass players from 30 states lined the roadways between the Woodlawn National Cemetery and the Bath National Cemetery, a distance of 42.2 miles, to play a cascading rendition of ‘Taps’ for our veterans. This tribute to the American military was recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as a powerful and unique way to demonstrate our nation's deep gratitude to those who, in times of war and peace, have faithfully defended our country.
The VA is pleased to announce a repeat performance of this tribute on a global scale - “EchoTaps Worldwide.” This event will encompass all VA National Cemeteries, State Veteran Cemeteries, and American Battle Monuments Commission Cemeteries around the world.
The goals of the “EchoTaps Worldwide” event are to honor and remember the sacrifices and contributions of our American military, foster a new generation of buglers, preserve the tradition of a live bugler to play ‘Taps’ for the final military honor, and raise awareness of veterans’ cemeteries and VA benefits.
The keynote speaker will be Edgar Tucker, B.A., M.P.H., C.H.E., director of the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. Other participants in the program include Jorge Lopez, Houston National Cemetery director; LTC George Lim, U.S. Army (Ret.); Jeannie Juergens; Col. Arch Ethun, U.S. Air Force (Ret.); Col. Norris Posehn, U.S. Army; and Esther Liptai. Participating groups include the Alief Hastings High School Marine Color Guard and VFW District 4, Ceremonial Detail.
Individuals, schools, and community organizations are encouraged to be part of this unique tribute as performers or support volunteers. If you are a brass player interested in performing at military funerals for veterans throughout the year, contact the Houston VA National Cemetery at (281) 447-8686, ext. 200.
For more information about “EchoTaps Worldwide,” visit www.echotaps.org.
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BACKGROUND INFORMATION: The Houston VA National Cemetery is the second largest national cemetery in the region, encompassing some 419 acres of a former dairy farm in northwest Houston. The cemetery's focal point and the site of all special observances is the horseshoe-shaped building at its center known as the Hemicycle. This exposed aggregate structure contains a chapel and a 75-foot bell tower and encloses a courtyard that can accommodate as many as 5,000 people. All veterans with general or better discharges, their spouses, and dependent children are eligible for burial in a national cemetery. Eligible veterans may receive a VA grave marker or headstone even if they are not buried in a national cemetery. For more information, visit the National Cemetery Administration Web site at http://www.cem.va.gov.
DRIVING DIRECTIONS: The Houston VA National Cemetery is located 15 miles northwest of downtown Houston. From Bush Intercontinental Airport, take John F. Kennedy Blvd. south to Beltway 8. Turn right onto Beltway 8 west and exit at Ella. Follow the feeder road west to the third traffic light. Turn left on Veterans Memorial Drive. Proceed to the first traffic light and turn left on T.C. Jester. The cemetery entrance is on the right.