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August 04, 2005

An Old Tradition Explained

Here's something I didn't know, and I'm probably not alone, so I'm going to share it.

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 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.

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.

Hat Tip, Jodee, and many thanks.

Posted by Seth at August 4, 2005 01:55 PM


How beautiful. Thanks for the post, I never knew the story behind "Taps". It'll make me cry even more when I hear it now.But, I hope some ACLUer doesn't read the words for the song. They'll want to sue it out of existance.

Posted by: NYgirl at August 5, 2005 02:41 AM

LOL!!!! They would, too, simply because it's an American military tradition and we can't very well have that. The left seems determined to give the whole country a face lift so it bears no resemblance to the United States we know and love.

Posted by: Seth at August 5, 2005 05:53 AM

Not only is it a military tradition, but it mentions God & belief in him. It is sad that the ACLU thinks that all mentions of Chirstianty, which might offend or alienate non-Christians, should be wiped out while pornography in the public sphere, which is definitly offensive to a lot of people, should be tolerated. Talk about hypocracy.

Posted by: NYgirl at August 5, 2005 07:59 PM

Last year, when some California school district initiated a program wherein all the students had to take a class on the Koran and Islamic beliefs, and one day a week come to school in Arab dress(here in the land of the Ninth Circus Court of Surreals), I don't recall hearing a peep out of the ACLU.That shows that the religion that produces Terrorism's Greatest Hits is acceptable to them, while the religions that are coin of the realm in America are not.

Posted by: Seth at August 6, 2005 09:43 AM