The “Taps Across America” Experience

At 3 pm local time on Memorial Day, thousands of bugle players around the country will participate in Taps Across America.

Here’s an overview from the website.

“The TAPS ACROSS AMERICA tribute debuted on national television in 2020 when CBS news “On the Road” correspondent Steve Hartman teamed up with retired Air Force bugler Jari Villanueva, founder of TAPS FOR VETERANS and TAPS ACROSS AMERICA. The two men invited buglers and musicians to sound Taps from their front porches all at the same time as a part of the TAPS ACROSS AMERICA tribute. The massive, simultaneous event replaced picnics, parades, and other celebrations canceled due to the pandemic.

The response was overwhelming: More than 10,000 musicians joined in a nationwide salute to remember fallen service members. TAPS ACROSS AMERICA brings the country together, offering everyone an opportunity to Honor, Remember and Reflect in the true spirit of Memorial Day.“

This beautiful tribute is more than an event. It is an experience. Here’s how you can tell the difference.

In English, words with the suffix “ing” mean that something is being experienced. For example, think of eating, drinking, and golfing; those are all experiences.

A bugle is a physical object. But bugling is an experience.

When 10,000+ Americans raise their instruments, they are “playing” their music. They have an experience.

Those who will listen at 3 pm on Monday will have their own experience because we will be listening. Of course, it is different than the experience had by those who are playing, but it is an experience.

Another way Taps Across America is an experience is in the sheer size of the event. The most memorable experiences are often oversized in scale.

Consider the difference between watching a sports event on TV versus attending it in person. Both are technically experiences (note the “ing”) but sitting in the stadium cheering with thousands of other fans creates a different experience.

A third way in which Taps Across America is an experience can be found in the structure of the music. The most compelling experiences always unfold along the following seven stages of dramatic structure as defined by Gustav Freytag, a 19th-century German playwright.

  1. Exposition – introducing the context
  2. Inciting incident – setting the action in motion
  3. Rising action – rapidly increasing possibilities and intensity
  4. Crisis – heightened activities and obstacles
  5. Climax – of many things that could happen, only one does
  6. Falling action – resulting consequences
  7. Denouement – a return to normalcy

Listen to Taps carefully, and you’ll find that it follows this structure perfectly.

A funeral home is a physical object.

A funeral is an event.

But the people attending are mourning, expressing condolences, sharing stories, reconnecting with others, celebrating, honoring, etc.

In other words, from the perspective of people walking into your funeral home, you are already in the funeral experience business. The only question is whether you provide an experience they value or one they dismiss as irrelevant.

I help funeral home owners create experiences that today’s families value. If you are ready to harness the power of the Experience Economy, contact me.

Until next time


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