Tuesday, April 20, 2010


We in the United States have
all heard the haunting song,

It's the song that gives us
that lump in our throats and
usually tears in our eyes.

But, do you know the story behind
the song? If not, I think you will
be interested 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 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 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
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 of his
superiors 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 turned down since the
soldier was a Confederate. But out of
respect for the father, they did say
they could give 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.
This wish was granted.

The haunting 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 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 ...
This post was copied--Tom Stanford

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