Memorial Day — The Meaning of Taps

May 27, 2016

12  comments

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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.

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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.


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“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.

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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.

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When you hear Taps being played this Memorial Day weekend, remember the lyrics as you

remember all who so bravely served our country.



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Wishing you a safe and happy Memorial Day!

Leave a Reply

  1. Thank you Leslie Anne, I had no idea there were words to Taps. That photo of the Blue Angels is stunning! They fly over our house all the time and it’s incredible how they go by overhead and you don’t even hear the sound for several seconds because they are literally flying faster than the speed of sound! I agree with you, I bet Ellen definitely added a fashion statement to her uniform 🙂
    Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. I grew up in a house where the Blue Angels literally practiced over my yard! I remember swinging and having them buzz overhead! What spoiled Americans we are, you and I.

      Happy Memorial Day weekend to you. Hope you have a wonderful time at the beach!

  2. The lyrics are meaningful. I wasn’t aware that there were lyrics. I was not a Girl Scout.

    Maybe sometime you can tell us about the missing man formation. Or the Fallen Comrade Table (see my FB post and pic from Walmart.) There is so much we should be teaching in schools!

    1. One of the schools where I taught was full of military families, so we learned lots of those kinds of things. Now I’ve forgotten, but yes, it’s so nice to be well-rounded, especially when so many people want to push the military into the background!

  3. I never knew there were words to Taps! Just tears me up every time I hear it! The images were striking! Hope you are having a great weekend! ~Rhonda

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