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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Taps in the General forums; If any of you have ever been to a military funeral in which taps was played; this brings out a ...
  1. #1
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
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    Jun 2006


    If any of you have ever been to a military funeral in which taps was played; this brings out a new meaning of it.
    Here is something Every American should know. Until I read this, I didn't know, but I checked it out and it's true:

    We in the United States have all heard the haunting song, 'Taps...' It's the song that gives us the lump in our throats and usually tears in our eyes.
    But, do you know the story behind the song? If not, I think you will be interested to find out about its humble beginnings.

    Reportedly, it all began in 1862 during the Civil War, when Union Army Captain Robert Elli was with his men near Harrison's Landing in Virginia. The Confederate Army was on the other side of the narrow strip of land.

    During the night, Captain Elli heard the moans of a soldier who lay severely wounded on the field. Not knowing if it was a Union or Confederate soldier, the Captain decided to risk his life and bring the stricken man back for medical attention. Crawling on his stomach through the gunfire, the Captain reached the stricken soldier and began pulling him toward his encampment.

    When the Captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered it was actually a Confederate soldier, but the soldier was dead.

    The Captain lit a lantern and suddenly caught his breath and went numb with shock. In the dim light, he saw the face of the soldier. It was his own son. The boy had been studying music in the South when the war broke out. Without telling his father, the boy enlisted in the Confederate Army.

    The following morning, heartbroken, the father asked permission of his superiors to give his son a full military burial, despite his enemy status. His request was only partially granted.

    The Captain had asked if he could have a group of Army band members play a funeral dirge for his son at the funeral.

    The request was turned down since the soldier was a Confederate.

    But, out of respect for the father, they did say they could give him only one musician. n in 1862 during the Civil War, when Union Army Captain Robert Elli was with his men near Harrison's Landing in Virginia. The Confederate Army was on the other side of the narrow strip of land.
    The Captain chose a bugler. He asked the bugler to play a series of musical notes he had found on a piece of paper in the pocket of the dead youth's uniform.

    This wish was granted.

    The haunting melody, we now know as 'Taps' used at military funerals was born.

    The words are:

    Day is done.
    Gone the sun.
    From the lakes
    From the hills.
    From the sky.
    All is well.
    Safely rest.
    God is nigh.

    Fading light.
    Dims the sight.
    And a star.
    Gems the sky.
    Gleaming bright.
    From afar.
    Drawing nigh.
    Falls the night.

    Thanks and praise.
    For our days.
    Neath the sun
    Neath the stars.
    Neath the sky
    As we go.
    This we know.
    God is nigh

    I too have felt the chills while listening to 'Taps' but I have never seen all the words to the song until now. I didn't even know there was more than one verse . I also never knew the story behind the song and I didn't know if you had either so I thought I'd pass it along.

    I now have an even deeper respect for the song than I did before.

    Remember Those Lost and Harmed While Serving Their Country.

    Also Remember Those Who Have Served And Returned; and for those presently serving in the Armed Forces.
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

  2. #2
    Pianissimo User
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    Sep 2009

    Re: Taps

    Thanks for the post
    '67 Olds Ambassador

  3. #3
    Forte User
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    Oct 2008

    Re: Taps

    Wow. Very interesting history.

  4. #4
    Pianissimo User
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    Feb 2009
    Omaha, NE

    Re: Taps

    That is one version of TAPS. Read the real version at West-Point.ORG, The West Point Connection.

    Have a good day...

  5. #5
    Moderator Utimate User Solar Bell's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Metro Detroit

    Re: Taps

    Sorry, Rowuk, that is a nice fuzzy story, but untrue.

    Here is the true story of Taps.

    Read all four pages.

    History of Taps excerpt, page 1
    Chuck Willard
    The Willard of Oz

    "Don't be afraid to see what you see."
    Ronald Reagan

  6. #6
    Fortissimo User MFfan's Avatar
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    Sep 2006
    Kalamazoo, Michigan

    Re: Taps Origin of 'Taps'

    Here is the Snopes article.
    Dave Rafferty
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  7. #7
    Pianissimo User
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    Jun 2008

    Re: Taps

    I, too, get lumps in my throat every time I hear a triad and its first inversion.

  8. #8
    Utimate User
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    Aug 2009
    Jackson NC

    Re: Taps

    The Butterfield / Norton origin of TAPS is the official accepted version. Major General Daniel Adams Butterfield received the Congressional Medal of Honor and is buried in the cemetery at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point NY although he never attended the academy. A statue of him is in NYC.

    Otherwise, buglers, trumpeters, cornetists that can play TAPS are in dire need across Our Nation. Bugles Across America asks you to join them at

    Otherwise, may I suggest you contact your local funeral homes, priests, pastors, rabbis, and ministers and offer your service.

    Our veterans are dying every day! They don't want the fakery of the DOD electronic bugle to sound their demise when they were originally told such would be played live. Too, there is often no rifle volley. There is no ceremony of folding the casket flag and presentation to the berieved of THAT flag, and indeed it takes trained skill to properly fold a casket flag into the renown triangle. Please!

    When I get my denture and regain my capability, I'll be doing so again. Although I can't now walk far, I'm still able to pace off my 50 yards to play TAPS. Too, I offer to play any other song the family wants. I played "Old Rugged Cross" at my Mother's funeral. How disgusted I was to hear a scratchy recording of TAPS from a single 8 ohm speaker at the interrment of my late brother Major William Erwin Lee at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside CA. Bill, a 20 year USAF veteran flew C-130 gunships in Vietnam and was also a skilled navigator.
    Last edited by Ed Lee; 04-15-2010 at 03:06 PM.

  9. #9
    Forte User jbkirby's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    Dothan, Alabama

    Re: Taps

    Rowuk: Thank you for bringing this thead to light. Ed Lee: Thank you for sharing this urgent need. I will be speaking to my local funeral homes and the VFW to determine whether I could be a part of this. My minister of music played taps in the movie "Clear and Present Danger" with Harrison Ford so I will also ask him as well.

    Regardless of the source of Taps, it is a haunting and beautiful melody and we can honor our deceased vets by being there for them!!

    1913 Conn Circus Bore Cornet
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    I was playing once and afterwards, a little boy approached me and stated that he played the trumpet. I asked, "Do you play like I do?" and he replied, "I used to."

  10. #10
    Mezzo Piano User
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    Jan 2009

    Re: Taps

    This is a great post. A soldier from my town, was killed in Afghanistan last week, so this touched me a bit. He graduated five years ago, and our entire high school lined the streets today as a group of soldiers, and the flag covered casket rolled down our main street. He is being buried in Arlington National Cemetary, and hopefully someone will be there to play TAPS for this wonderful Hundreds honor fallen U.S. Army Ranger Michael Jankiewicz
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