MILITARY FACTS ~ MEMORIES & TRADITIONS
The 24-note melancholy bugle call known as "Taps" is thought to be a revision of a French
bugle signal, called "tatoo." that notified soldiers to cease and evenings' drinking and
return to their garrisons. It was sounded an hour before the final bugle call to end the day
by extinguishing fires and lights. The last five measures of the "tatoo" resemble "Taps."
The revision that gave us the present-day "Taps" was made during America's Civil War by Union
Gen. Daniel Adams Butterfield, heading a brigade camped at Harrison landing, Va., near Richmond.
Up to that time, the U.S. Army's infantry call to end the day was the French final call,
"L'Extinction dex feux." Gen. Butterfield decided the "lights out" music was too formal.
In July 1862, General Butterfield recalled the "tatoo" music and hummed a version of it to an
aide who wrote it down. Butterfield then asked the brigade bugler, Oliver W. Norton, to play
the notes and, after listening, lengthened and shortened them while keeping his original melody.
He order Norton to play this new call at the end of each day thereafter. The music was heard
and appreciated by other brigades, who asked for copies and adopted this bugle call. It was even
adopted by Confederate buglers.
This music was made the official Army bugle call after the war, but was not given the name "Taps"
The first time "Taps" was played at a military funeral may also have been in Virginia soon after
Butterfield composed it. Union Capt. John Tilball, head of an artillery battery, ordered it played
for the burial of a cannoneer killed in action Not wanting to reveal the battery's position in the
woods to the enemy nearby, Tidball substituted "Taps" for the traditional three rifle volleys fired
over the grave. "Taps" as also played at the funeral of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson 10 months
after it was composed.
"Taps" now is play by the military at burial and memorial services, to accompany the lowering of the
flag, and to signal the "lights out" command at day's end.
Gratitude to Abigail VanBuren
MILITARY FUNERAL SERVICE ~ COLOR GUARD CEREMONY
|Let us cherish the blessings of liberty that were secured for us by those who served in the armed forces
of the United States.
While history may overlook many of the brave deeds of our gallant men and women, their memory will
ever live in the hearts and minds of freedom loving people of this great nation. The heart of every
true American must throb with wondrous pride as we honor our immortal American Heroes. For those who
died in the service and others who are now gone, the honor and glory is theirs, may their glory forever
NAME heard our country's call. He (she) went forth and counted not his (her) own life dear but offered
it gladly in humanities name. NAME fought for the right as God gave him (her) that right. *The greatest
war in the history of the world came to a close August 14, 1945 when the warring nations laid down their
arms. The Germans, Japanese and all their allies lay prostrate, they were defeated.
They who knew no mercy and who had violated every law of humanity and civilization, they begged for
mercy! The victory was ours! NAME was a part of that history of keeping this nation free!
We are assembled here to offer a last tribute of respect and affection to our departed comrade NAME.
The years toll by as the ranks of veterans diminish. One by one our comrades leave us; one by one they
pass on to join that company of heroic men and women who have defended our Country under arms. With the
help of God they have kept America free for you and me, so that we truly can be One Nation under God.
Veteran of war, well done, the warfare is past. The battle is fought, the battle is won, and thou are
crowned at last.
There is but one word that describes our American Flag, that word is Freedom. *We do not live under
that Nazi swastika, the flag of the rising sun, nor the hammer and sickle. No Way! Because of men
(women) like NAME we live in a free country under this Red White and Blue our Stars and Stripes that
we call Old Glory. Our American flag always shines brightly.
It acquires its brilliance from American Veterans who fought and died to preserve it. It sure seems
to me, that our flag shines much brighter today as we honor NAME. For the love and devotion he (she)
gave to our beloved country, we will give him (her) full military honors.
We will have the sounding of Taps. (Taps have lyrics!)
Day is done,
gone the sun,
from the lakes,
from the hills,
from the skies.
All is well, safely rest,
God is nigh.
Thanks and praise,
for our days,
n'eath the sun,
n'eath the stars,
n'eath the sky.
As we go, this we know,
God is nigh.
(Of course nigh means near or very close by, God is very close by.)
Bugler, sound Taps - Bagpipes play Amazing Grace - fold flag - Present flag
This flag was folded very carefully as it is precious to the American people. Since the
Revolutionary war 42 million Americans have served under this flag. Over one million of those
have died on the battlefields or were lost at sea. They were defending the freedom this flag
This Flag is our nations highest honor. There is none higher. This flag is offered
by a grateful nation and the American veterans who have fought and died to preserve it. This flag
is given by the United States of America in memory of NAME for his honorable and faithful service
to our beloved country. On behalf of the American people and the Office of the President of the
United States, I present to you, NAME flag.
May God be with you.
*You may change or add words here that would more relate to the deceased.
(used with permission)
Grateful Acknowledgement to Boyd Fallwell - For God and Country - From Oklahoma City
USA Keeping America's Honor alive and well...
Heartfelt thanks to The Veterans of America's Honor Guard -
mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Honor Guard Tribute
|The members of our military who participate in the funerals of our military personnel serve with
distinction, but they often go unrecognized. The member of the military who conduct the funerals
at Arlington Cemetery in Virginia and other national cemeteries perform a wonderful service.
Most people are not aware that every day through the country, regardless of rain, snow, cold or
heat, men and women carry the coffins, fire the guns for the salute, play "Taps" and conduct
services. They do so with great professionalism and dignity.
The honor guards are chosen for their appearance and willingness to serve in this special way.
The chaplains participate in service after service, yet are able to offer each family a personal
and memorable experience. There are the musicians, including the bugler who plays "Taps," and the
riders on the horses of the caissons. Each participant represents the government and the people
of the United States, and behaves with dignity and respect.
To watch the Honor Guard fold the flag with reverence and perfection is to gain a deeper appreciation
of this magnificent symbol of our country. By their actions, the military personnel who conduct the
funerals say those who have served our nation, "Thank you for a job well done." We should,
in turn, thank them for representing us.
Suzanne ~ Arlington, Virginia
A tale begun in other days, when summer suns were glowing ~
A simple chime that served to time the rhythm of our rowing ~
+++++++ 2003 +++++++