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  1. #1
    copboy's Avatar
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    150th anniversary of Taps

    This week marks the 150th anniversary of Taps.

    Scores of buglers, trumpeters honor taps anniversary - CNN.com


    It got me thinking and I figured I would share my musings with yall.



    When one of our heroesí falls, be it a member of our military or a police officer, firefighter, or Medic, there is a lot of tradition that goes in to honoring their sacrifice. Flags lowered to half-staff, a twenty one gun salute, a final radio call that will never be answered by the officer. Some are unique to the Military, some to Law Enforcement, and some to Fire/EMS. One tradition that holds over through all these ceremonies is the playing of taps, be it on a bugle, a trumpet, or even bag pipes, the haunting notes float though the hallowed ground of the cemetery welcoming a new sole in to its final rest. It has been played going on 150 years and will continue until the end of days. There are several stories of how taps came to be. One story involves a Union officer in the Civil War rescuing an unknown soldier from the field of battle, only to discover it to be his son who had been studying in the south at the start of the war. On his sonís body he found a paper with the melody of what was to be called taps scrawled on it. When he was only given a bugler to play over his sonís funeral he had the man play Taps. Another story involves an officer wanting to honor those living and dead at the end of the day. Whatever the story, Taps has been incorporated in to honoring the dead. It is melodies that even the toughest man or woman finds hard to keep from tearing up when they hear it. The sound of the guns still fading, the musician starts to play those familiar notes as the honor guard slowly folds the flag of this great country that has been draped over the fallen hero. The scene is very powerful, made even more so by the chilling melody. As the final notes fade the folded flag is presented to the heroís family. Though I can remember hearing Taps played at the end of the day at scout camp , I will forever associate it with the final honor given to a fallen hero.


    To all those out there on the front lines be you military or one of my brothers or sisters in blue, stay safe , keep you head down, and above all Thank You for your service.

  2. #2
    Trojan 42's Avatar
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    I thought Taps was written as a Light's Out Bugle call because the US didn't want to use the Last Post which was the British bugle call?

    The Last Post is still played everynight at the Menim Gate by a Bugler from their Fire Brigade. (although other bandsmen can request the honour)

    I play it every year at a Remembrance Day Service and at the occasional funeral.
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  3. #3
    copboy's Avatar
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    When I looked up the history I found about 4 different versions about how it came about.

  4. #4
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    This is the one I was told, and the source looks fairly solid.

    The History of Taps


    The melody that gave the present day "Taps" was made during the Civil War by Union General Danial Adams Butterfield, in command of a brigade camped at Harrison Landing, Virginia, near Richmond. Up to that time, the U.S. Army infantry call to end the day was the French final call "L'Extinction des feux". General Butterfield decided the "lights out" music was too formal to signal the end of the day. One day in July 1862, he recalled the "Tatoo" music and hummed a version of it to an aide who wrote the melody down. Butterfield asked the brigade bugler, Oliver W. Norton, to play the notes, and after listening, he lengthened and shortened them while keeping the original melody. Thereafter, General Butterfield ordered Norton to play this new call at the end of each day instead of the regular call. The music was heard and appreciated by the other brigades, who asked for copies and adopted it for own use. It was even adopted by the Confederates.

    The first time "Taps" was played at a military funeral may have been in Virginia, soon after Butterfield composed it. Union Captain John Tidball, head of an artillery battery, ordered it played for the burial of a connoneer killed in action. Not wanting to reveal the position of the battery, Tidball substituted "Taps" for the three rifle vollys fired over the grave.

    Major Seymour, in 1867, was evidently not aware of General Butterfield's composition. The major did not include it in his system of calls, and it was not officially adopted until 1874. Considered to be the most beautiful of calls, Taps provides a fitting close to the soldier's day, and when the time comes, to his or her final departure from the ranks. The melody was made the official Army bugle call after the war, but was not given the name "Taps" until 1874.

    Source "U.S. Army Military District of Columbia Fact Sheet"
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  5. #5
    Jenna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by copboy View Post
    There are several stories of how taps came to be. One story involves a Union officer in the Civil War rescuing an unknown soldier from the field of battle, only to discover it to be his son who had been studying in the south at the start of the war. On his son’s body he found a paper with the melody of what was to be called taps scrawled on it. When he was only given a bugler to play over his son’s funeral he had the man play Taps. Another story involves an officer wanting to honor those living and dead at the end of the day.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trojan 42 View Post
    Considered to be the most beautiful of calls, Taps provides a fitting close to the soldier's day, and when the time comes, to his or her final departure from the ranks.
    Maybe all of these happened, and the traditions converged. However it came about, it is a beautiful tradition.

  6. #6
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    A poignant and emotional rendition of taps by a young girl.
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  7. #7
    Trojan 42's Avatar
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    That's not Taps. It's a tune called Il Silencio.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trojan 42 View Post
    That's not Taps. It's a tune called Il Silencio.
    Il Silenzio (song) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Agreed, although it's easy to initially mistake if you aren't familiar with Il Silenzio as the melodic theme was taken from Taps.
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