|We have heard the moving selection,
"Taps." It gives a lump in throats and tears in eyes. The
background behind "Taps" follows.
Reportedly it began in 1862 during the Civil War
when Union Capain 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 was severely wounded on the field.
Not knowing whether it was a Confederate or Union 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 towards his encampment.
When the Captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered the
stricken soldier was actually Confederate, but the soldier was dead.
The Captain lit a lantern and suddenly caught his
breath, going 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 funeral,
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 he was a Confederate but, out or respect for the
father, they did say they would provide 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. The request was granted.
The 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 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.