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Re: Taps

Thanks a lot for the information. I shall never forget a funeral for a young Viet-Nam soldier. The haunting melody and then the gun salute that seem to go right through me. I don't know how the mother (a dear friend) stood it. It is sad that nayone has to go through that. I am truly blessed and will say a prayer for all the families now in service.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, November 09, 2000 9:15 PM
Subject: Taps

We all have heard the haunting melody of "Taps."  

It's the song that gives us that lump in our throats and usually tears in our
eyes.  I have had that lump in my throat and tears in my eyes hundreds of
times.  But do you know the story behind the song?  If not, I think you will
be pleased to find out about its humble beginnings.

Reportedly, it all began in 1862 during the Civil War, when Union Army
Captain Robert Ellicombe was with his men near Harrison's Landing, Virginia.  
The Confederate Army was on the other side of the narrow strip of land.

During the night, Captain Ellisombe heard the moans of a soldier who was
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 the
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 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 denied since the soldier was a Confederate.
But, out of respect for the father, they did say they could give him 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, which we now know as "Taps" used at military funerals,
was born.

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,
Gleaning 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.

Rufus Sinclair