Today is Memorial Day in the United States. Memorial Day is a day where we acknowledge those who have paid the ultimate price for us. Honoring our dead is not an affirmation of war, rather, it’s providing respect for those who never came back to their friends and families.
Many people confuse Veterans Day with Memorial Day… the two are very different. Veterans day honors Veterans alive or dead, who may have fought or never had to while serving their country. Memorial Day is for those who fought and died.
History of Taps
As the story goes, General Butterfield was not pleased with the call for Extinguish Lights, feeling that the call was too formal to signal the days end, and with the help of the brigade bugler, Oliver Willcox Norton (1839-1920), wrote Taps to honor his men while in camp at Harrison’s Landing, Virginia, following the Seven Days battle.
These battles took place during the Peninsular Campaign of 1862. The new call, sounded that night in July, 1862, soon spread to other units of the Union Army and was reportedly also used by the Confederates. Taps was made an official bugle call after the war.
Taps was not original, it was most likely penned from a similar bugle call, called Tattoo, that was played one hour before soldiers were supposed to end the day and get sleep. Some folks also don’t realize that words were penned to Taps, the beautiful but haunting bugle call played in honor of our fallen brothers and sisters:
Day is done, gone the sun,
From the hills, from the lake,
From the sky.
All is well, safely rest,
God is nigh.
Fades the light; And afar
Goeth day, And the stars
Fare thee well; Day has gone,
Night is on.
Thanks and praise, For our days,
‘Neath the sun, Neath the stars,
‘Neath the sky,
As we go, This we know,
God is nigh.
Today is also the 25th anniversary of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial.