By Denny Weddle, Lieutenant Colonel US Air Force (RET)
Dear Family, Friends, Fellow Warriors–As we say a Prayer and Remember our fallen comrades of the Army-Navy-Marine Corps-Air Force-Coast Guard, awhile back I was sent the history of Taps in our country. Most of you on my email list have been to military funerals; some more than others. I had not known this until that time and I would like to share it on this, the DAY America gives gratitude to those of our military who have passed!!!! “Taps” originated from the Dutch “tapto” or end of the evening but our American version occurred during the Civil War. Three single drum beats were struck after the sounding of the tattoo or “EXTINGUISH LIGHTS”. This signal was known as “Drum Taps” and later in soldiers’ slang just “Taps”. Arranged in present form by the Union General Daniel Butterfield, an American civil war general, Medal of Honor recipient and Commander of the 3rd Brigade of 1st Division in the V Army Corps of the Army of the Republic while at Harrisons Landing, VA. In July 1862, to replace a previous French bugle call used to signal “lights out”, Wilcox Norton, of East Springfield, PA was the first to sound the new call. Within months “Taps” was used by both Union and Confederate forces and officially recognized by the United States Army in 1874. There was another version citing a father and his son between the lines of the North and South….was lovely but not substantiated—The above is historically significant. All of us in the U.S. have heard the haunting song and each have had lumps in our throats holding back, but not successfully, our tears. Many do not know there were words; those that do may not know other verses were added and I have added two—So read below and let your mind add the stirring melody you heard before:
Day is Done, Gone the Sun.
From the Lakes, From the Hill. From the Sky.
All is Well, Safely Rest. God is Nigh.
Thanks and praise, For our days.
Neath the sun, Neath the stars. Neath the sky.
As we go, This we know. God is Nigh.
Fades the light, And afar
Goeth day, And the stars
Shineth bright. Fare thee well,
Day is gone. Night is on.
Whenever you see and hear the Bugle and hear the final notes signaling the “final call”
heard by the families and loved ones for their son or daughter
—remember that “final call” and its significance…. God Bless and Cheers!