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Why "TAPS" is played.

If any of you have ever been to a  military funeral in which taps were 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 that 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 Ellicombe 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 Ellicombe 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 t he  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.

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: Click here for more details: www.tapsbugler.com
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  Whi le Serving Their Country.  And also those presently serving in  the Armed Forces.

Please say a short prayer for  our soldiers and pass on to others to do the same.

I pledge  Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the  Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

Origins:  From Urban Legends Reference Pages:  www.snopes.com/music/songs/taps.htm
It's hard to feel surprised when a melody as hauntingly beautiful as Taps picks up a legend about how it came to be written -- it's too mournfully direct a piece for the mere truth to suffice.

Taps was composed in July 1862 at Harrison's Landing in Virginia, but after that the fanciful e-mail quoted above Day is done parts way with reality. There was no dead son, Confederate or otherwise; no lone bugler sounding out the dead boy's last composition. How the call came into being was never anything more than one influential soldier deciding his unit could use a bugle call for particular occasions and setting about to come up with one.

If anyone can be said to have composed 'Taps,' it was Brig. Gen. Daniel Butterfield, Commander of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, V Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, during the American Civil War. Dissatisfied with the customary firing of three rifle volleys at the conclusion of burials during battle and also needing a method of ceremonially imparting meaning to the end of a soldier's day, he likely altered an older piece known as "Tattoo," a French bugle call used to signal "lights out," into the call we now know as 'Taps.' (Alternatively, he wrote the whole thing from scratch, a possibility not at all supported by his lack of musical background and ability.)

Whether he wrote it straight from the cuff or improvised something new by rearranging an older work, Butterfield brought 'Taps' into being. With the help of his bugler, Oliver W. Norton of Chicago, the concept was transformed into its present form. "Taps" was quickly taken up by both sides of the conflict, and within months was being sounded by buglers in both Union and Confederate forces.

Then as now, 'Taps' serves as a vital component in ceremonies honoring military dead. It is also understood by American servicemen as an end-of-day 'lights out' signal.

When "Taps" is played at a military funeral, it is customary to salute if in uniform, or place your hand over your heart if not.

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