ELKHART — Elkhart's Echo Taps celebration on Veterans Day will be a little different this year, but just as emotional as the solemn sounds pierce the Sunday morning air.
In three previous years, the Echo Taps route of musicians covered more than five miles and involved upward of 80 people playing taps, one after another along the route leading to Rice Cemetery.
This year, the musical service will be contained inside the 101-year old cemetery in Elkhart.
Since Veteran's Day falls on a Sunday, organizers decided to use a more concentrated approach, fearing that Sunday morning timing might not work well.
At first, they were not certain a Sunday event would work, but some veterans were insistent, said Brian Thomas, an organizer who also serves as an Elkhart City Council member.
As it turns out, organizers expect to have 60 musicians lined up to participate. Interest this year, exceeded expectations.
“If we got 30, we'd be happy, but they just kept flooding in and we finally just had to shut it off,” Thomas said.
Unlike past years when musicians had been spaced hundreds of feet apart, this year's event will be more intimate and participants will be spaced much closer.
Participating musicians will line the outer roads within the cemetery and will be joined alternately by local boy scouts who will stand at attention.
Organizers expect another 200 people from various groups including military school color guards, Civil War reenactors as well as representatives area VFW and DAV chapters.
Afterward, the Elkhart DAV chapter 19 will host its annually memorial service at Rice Cemetery at 11 a.m. Among those speaking will be Elkhart Mayor Dick Moore and State Rep. Tim Neese.
Spectators wanting to observe the taps have several options, Thomas said.
Observers can park inside the cemetery or along roads leading into the cemetery. A parking lot along Blazer Boulevard near the tennis courts is also a good location, Thomas said.
Event coordinators have asked that all musical participants assemble at the Elkhart DAV chapter 19 at 8 a.m. at 1205 Middleton Run Road on Sunday where assignments will be issued. The DAV will be providing refreshments and the coordinators will be handing out certificates of appreciation for their time and effort in addition to a commemorative baseball cap.
Musicians will move into position at the cemetery at 9:45 a.m.
Upon conclusion of this year's events, the DAV will be serving lunch to interested parties at their headquarters.