Lehigh Valley

Echo Taps rings throughout Bethlehem this Memorial Day

Echo Taps rings throughout Bethlehem this Memorial Day

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Lehigh Valley veterans held a unique memorial to fallen service members this Memorial Day.

It's called "Echo Taps:" 37 buglers all lining downtown Bethlehem playing the famous military song, one after another, in a giant echo.

Leading them was Lerhon "Dan" Deysher, a 92 year-old World War II veteran who's played more than 3,200 funerals.

"When one person has completed playing 'Taps,' the next person in line, about 50 yards away, immediately picks up on the beginning of 'Taps' and so on, down the line," he said.

The line began at Nisky Hill Cemetery and stretched two-and-a-half miles to Memorial Park Cemetery.

Deysher said the bugles represent all the fallen service members he was never able to play "Taps" for.

"I gazed out on the hundreds of American flags that were flapping in the breeze, and I thought, 'I wonder how many forgotten veterans are here that never did receive this final tribute that I'm about to perform,'" he said.

For Dysher, the tribute is personal.

"Dan Deysher, whose brainchild this was, is my first trumpet teacher," said bugler Bryan Gerhab. "He was in the Navy during World War II. That didn't mean much to me when I was in fifth grade studying with him, but as I get older and I start to realize what his service meant to the country, it's as genuine as it gets."

High school students from Liberty and Central Catholic joined in; some buglers even came from Carbon County.

"We were welcoming anyone that could play 'Taps,'" said Deysher.

Retired U.S. Marine and former Bethlehem mayoral candidate Otto Ehrsam was visibly moved.

"I'm just so pleased that they come out and honor our veterans," he said.

"That's what this is really dedicated to," said Deysher. "I was proud as could be. I really was."

"Echo Taps" is performed at military schools like the Citadel, but it's not officially sanctioned by the Armed Services.

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