Taps

Okay, so I’ve been discussing Taps and how important it is to us, as Scouts and Americans.

The Free Dictionary defines taps as:

taps play_w(“T0044700”)

 (tps)

pl.n. (used with a sing. or pl. verb)

A bugle call or drum signal sounded at night, as at a military camp, as an order to put out lights and also sounded at military funerals and memorial services.

Well Bingo, I did say it was important 😉

It is the Military’s signal to put out the lights. It’s something that is part of Scouts, it is something that you see in all the handouts and at EVERY Girl Scout meeting council-wide, nation-wide.

The Origin of Taps from the Arlington National Cemetary:

Origin of “Taps”

During the Civil War, in July 1862 when the Army of the Potomac was in camp, Brig. Gen. Daniel Butterfield summoned Pvt. Oliver Wilcox Norton, his brigade bugler, to his tent. Butterfield, who disliked the colorless “extinguish lights” call then in use, whistled a new tune and asked the bugler to sound it for him. After repeated trials and changing the time of some notes which were scribbled on the back of an envelope, the call was finally arranged to suit Gen. Butterfield and used for the first time that night. Pvt. Norton, who on several occasions, had sounded numerous new calls composed by his commander, recalled his experience of the origin of “Taps” years later:

“One day in July 1862 when the Army of the Potomac was in camp at Harrison’s Landing on the James River, Virginia, resting and recruiting from its losses in the seven days of battle before Richmond, Gen. Butterfield summoned the writer to his tent, and whistling some new tune, asked the bugler to sound it for him. This was done, not quite to his satisfaction at first, but after repeated trials, changing the time of some of the notes, which were scribbled on the back of an envelope, the call was finally arranged to suit the general.

“He then ordered that it should be substituted in his brigade for the regulation “Taps” (extinguish lights) which was printed in the Tactics and used by the whole army. This was done for the first time that night. The next day buglers from nearby brigades came over to the camp of Butterfield’s brigade to ask the meaning of this new call.

……………

Gen. Butterfield, in composing this call and directing that it be used for “Taps” in his brigade, could not have foreseen its popularity and the use for another purpose into which it would grow. Today, whenever a man is buried with military honors anywhere in the United States, the ceremony is concluded by firing three volleys of musketry over the grave, and sounding with the trumpet or bugle “Put out the lights. Go to sleep”…There is something singularly beautiful and appropriate in the music of this wonderful call. Its strains are melancholy, yet full of rest and peace. Its echoes linger in the heart long after its tones have ceased to vibrate in the air.”

If you go to the site I copied a portion of the article from you can click on the soldier and listen to Taps. It truly is a beautiful sound.

I stress no fooling around during Taps because it is a part of our history. As old as this song is and it is still so important to us. Here are the words:

Words to Taps
(Note: there are no “official” words to Taps
below are the most popular.)

Day is done,
gone the sun,
From the hills,
from the lake,
From the skies.
All is well,
safely rest,
God is nigh.

Go to sleep,
peaceful sleep,
May the soldier
or sailor,
God keep.
On the land
or the deep,
Safe in sleep.

Love, good night,
Must thou go,
When the day,
And the night
Need thee so?
All is well.
Speedeth all
To their rest.

Fades the light;
And afar
Goeth day,
And the stars
Shineth bright,
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.

Now my troop only knows the first verse, but now I’m thinking they need to learn all of it 🙂 Just because you can NEVER have too much down time to unwind and relax before leaving the meeting.

Happy Scouting!

Kell

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sandi
    Oct 18, 2007 @ 16:35:38

    thank you for posting TAPS. I was looking around after reading your blog earlier but couldn’t decide which web site to use. Thanks

    Reply

  2. kellskorner
    Oct 18, 2007 @ 18:13:49

    You’re welcome 🙂

    Reply

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