We in the United States have all heard the haunting song, "Taps". It's the songthat 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 beinterested to find out about its humble beginnings.
Reportedly, it all began in 1862 during the Civil War, when Union Army CaptainRobert Ellicombe was with his men near Harrison's Landing in Virginia. TheConfederate Army was on the other side of the narrow strip of land.
During the night, Captain Ellicombe heard the moans of a soldier who layseverely wounded on the field. Not knowing if it was a Union or Confederatesoldier, the Captain decided to risk his life and bring the stricken man backfor medical attention.
Crawling on his stomach through the gunfire, the Captain reached the strickensoldier and began pulling him toward his encampment. When the Captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered it was actually aConfederate soldier, but the soldier was dead.
The Captain lit a lantern and suddenly caught his breath and went numb withshock. In the dim light, he saw the face of the soldier. It was his son. The boy had been studying music in the South when the war broke out. Withouttelling his father, the boy enlisted in the Confederate Army.
The following morning, heartbroken, the father asked permission of his superiorsto give his son a full military burial, despite his enemy status. His requestwas only partially granted. The Captain had asked if he could have a group ofArmy 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 ofrespect, 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 musicalnotes he had found on a piece of paper in the pocket of the dead youth'suniform. 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.