03 May 2004

Taps

My dad emailed me this:


If any of you have ever been to a military funeral in which the song
"Taps" was played; this story brings out a whole new meaning to it. Here is
something EVERY AMERICAN should know. Until I read this, I didn't know.


TAPS


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 beginning 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.
I now have an even deeper respect for the song than I did
before.

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