TAPS The funeral Tune

If any of you have ever been to a military funeral in which 'TAPS' was played you cant forget the haunting tune which leaves an everlasting impression on your mind as it haunts you for ever. I did not know much about 'Taps' and when I came to know abut it, I thought this information is worth putting on record for my friends and readers. How many of us ever knew the story behind the music ? Probably very few or almost none. So here it is, the story behind this sad but glorious tradition.
It was all started under some exceptionally tragic personal and professional circumstances, by a courageous and great army officer, called Captain Robert Ellicombe during the American civil War . He was an officer commisioned with the Union army of north engaged in fighting the army of confederates from south called the Confederate army. During this war, Captain Robert Ellicombe was with his men near Harrison's Landing, in Virginia, and the the Confederate Army was on the other side of a narrow strip of land where one of the battles was being fought.
One night, Captain Ellicombe heard the moans of a soldier who lay 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 his 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 as he brought it near the dead soldier's face, he went numb with shock. In the dim light of the flickering lanteren Captain Robert saw the face of his own son. The young man had been studying music in the South when the war broke out and without telling his father, the boy enlisted in the Confederate Army. The father never knew that his son was fighting for the confederate army. The following morning, heartbroken, the father asked permission from his superiors to give his son, the young Confederate soldier, a full military burial, despite his enemy status. Captain had asked if he could have a group of Army band members play a funeral tune for his son at the funeral. The request was turned down since the soldier was an enemy soldier but out of respect for the father a permission for just one musician to be present at the funeral was granted.
The Captain chose a bugler. This brave officer on checking his son's clothing had found a hand written note in his shirt pocket, which was in fact music written by his son and he asked the lone bugler to play those very musical notes. The haunting melody, we now know as 'Taps' used at military funerals was thus born.

The words of this funeral song 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

Those of you who want to listen to a shorter version of 'TAPS' being played click on the link below.

For a full version of 'Taps' being superbly played on a trumpet by a young and talented girl click on the link below..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJ9VZixY7-0

by Balwant gurunay.

1 comment:

  1. Thats real sad! knowing the story behind a piece of music really gives it a whole new dimension.