Drive on to make Taps nation’s National Song of Remembrance
By Staff Sgt. Sherree Grebenstein, 167th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office
/ Published June 03, 2010
Martinsburg, WVa -- Across the country this past Memorial Day many men, women and children paid somber tribute to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.
During Memorial Day observances throughout the nation the sounds of Taps could be heard trumpeted as many onlookers at ceremonies bowed their heads and reflected on the veterans being remembered for their selfless service.
And while Taps' 24 notes are indelibly engrained in many people's minds, the words that accompany the famous melody are not.
The official bugler for the West Virginia Air National Guard's 167th
Airlift Wing's Base Honor Guard would like to change that.
Senior Master Sgt. Ron Glazer, is the treasurer of TAPS 150 Inc., a nonprofit organization which wants Taps recognized as the nation's National Song of Remembrance. July 2012 will be the 150th anniversary of the creation of the famous bugle call.
Glazer said the focus of TAPS 150 is two-fold.
First, to recognize the creation of the famous 24 notes with events leading up to its 150th anniversary in July 2012, but also to petition to have Taps given a special designation.
"We want Taps to become our National Song of Remembrance," he said.
"Our National Anthem represents our country; Taps would represent our farewell to military members that have passed away," Glazer said.
In an interview with Military.com, Jari Villanueva, a veteran of playing Taps at more than 5,000 ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and president of TAPS 150 Inc., said the 24 notes of Taps had its origins in "Extinguish Lights," which was "an end-of-day bugle call adapted from a French tune. But in 1862, while encamped at Harrison's Landing, Va., Union Army Gen. Daniel Butterfield revised the tune - holding certain notes longer, etc. Taps was quickly picked up by other buglers in other units and after the Civil War and became an official Army bugle call."
Words were created for Taps, but they are not official words, according to Glazer.
According to TapsBugler.com: "There are no official words to the music of
Taps, but here are some of the more popular verses:
Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills,
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."
Glazer said TAPS 150 is planning commemorative events, special concerts and an array of festivities that will culminate in May 2012 as well as a re-enactment at Berkeley Plantation in Virginia where Taps was first played.
The national chaplain for Bugles Across America.org, Glazer said TAPS 150 is teaming with other organizations to push for the recognition that the military bugle call of Taps so richly deserves. Organizations include the National Association for Civil War Brass Music, Inc. [www.nationalcivilwarbrassmucis.org], Bugles Across America [www.buglesacrossamerica.org] and Echo Taps [www.echotaps.org]
On the Bugles Across America Web site, Glazer writes:
"The bugle call Taps has, for almost 150 years, held a special place in our American heritage. Originally conceived as a replacement signal to order lights out at the end of the day in the military, the call transformed into the funeral honors accorded all uniformed persons who have faithfully served our country.
"While still sounded every evening at military bases to signal `Day is Done,' the notes of Taps have become part of our national conscience. In times of peace and war the 24 notes of this familiar melody have been performed each day in virtually every part of our nation."
Those interested in supporting Taps as a National Song of Remembrance should visit www.taps150.org or www.facebook.com/Taps150