Memorial Day will be celebrated this weekend with ceremonies across the United States. Often, the traditional “Taps” will be played signaling the somber end . . . the end of the day, the end of soldier’s lives.
The origins of the song are mingled with legends and folk tales, so it’s difficult to find hard facts, but the tradition of playing Taps at sunset on military bases and at military funerals has been used throughout history in the United States of America.
“Echo Taps,” sometimes known as “Silver Taps” is played by two bugles in an echo fashion (that would be “antiphonally” for all you musical scholars) when a soldier is killed in combat.
When I stay with my parents in Fort Walton Beach, FL, we can hear Taps being played at 10pm each night by nearby Hurlburt Field, an Air Force Installation. It’s always comforting to know we’re sleeping under tight security.
But did you know there are lyrics to Taps? Written by Horace Lorenzo Trim, the words are hauntingly beautiful.
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 near
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.
When you hear Taps being played this Memorial Day weekend, remember the lyrics as you
remember all who so bravely served our country.
Wishing you a safe and happy Memorial Day!