Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Teen Bugles at Cemetery, Part of 100 Nights of Taps the Sound of a Bugle Echoed over the Graves of Soldiers, Playing the Familiar 24-Note Call for Lights Out

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Teen Bugles at Cemetery, Part of 100 Nights of Taps the Sound of a Bugle Echoed over the Graves of Soldiers, Playing the Familiar 24-Note Call for Lights Out

Article excerpt

GETTYSBURG, Pa. - The sound of a bugle echoed over the graves of soldiers, playing the familiar 24-note call of taps.

Alex Hessler, 17, is just one of the many people who volunteered to participate in One Hundred Nights of Taps. Since Memorial Day, buglers and trumpeters have performed taps nightly at the Soldiers' National Cemetery at 7 p.m. sharp. Wendy Allen, vice president of The Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania, founded the event to honor those who fought for their country.

Nearly halfway through the 100 nights, Alex volunteered for July 10, his second time this summer. This National Honor Society student will be a senior at Gettysburg Area High School, where he performs in the marching band, jazz band, concert band and orchestra. He picked up the trumpet in fifth grade and never looked back. Playing in One Hundred Nights of Taps was a way for Alex to get involved in the community, he said.

"It means that I get to honor everyone who sacrificed their lives for our freedom," Alex said.

When he isn't creating music, Alex participates in Boy Scouts, skis at Liberty Mountain or studies computers. He hopes to major in computer science at Drexel University or Carnegie Mellon University.

"I've always had a fascination and an affinity for computers," Alex said.

He's taken computer programming and computer science principles classes at school, in addition to a rigorous course load of Advanced Placement classes.

His mother, Michele, read about One Hundred Nights of Taps in the newspaper and thought her son would enjoy it. Ms. Hessler and her husband, Jim, are big fans of the historic battlefield. Mr. Hessler is a licensed battlefield guide.

"To have your son come out here and play and be a part of it is pretty special," Mr. Hessler said.

One Hundred Nights of Taps moves on a strict schedule. Performers have to report to the cemetery gatehouse by 6:30 p. …

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