MAY GOD CONTINUE TO CARE FOR THOSE WHO HAVE GIVEN
'THEIR FULL MEASURE OF DEVOTION'
IN SUPPORT OF THE FREEDOMS WE AMERICANS ENJOY TODAY!
“How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!”
~ Thomas Jefferson
Since 1862, “Taps” has played at military funerals to honor the sacrifice of fallen service members. In collaboration with his bugler, Union Army General Daniel Butterfield (Army of the Potomac), did not like the bugle call being used and rearranged an earlier 'call' into the 24 notes of “Taps.”
According to the bugler, "General Daniel Butterfield... sent for me, and showing me some notes on a staff written in pencil on the back of an envelope, asked me to sound them on my bugle. I did this several times, playing the music as written. He changed it somewhat, lengthening some notes and shortening others, but retaining the melody as he first gave it to me. After getting it to his satisfaction, he directed me to sound that call for Taps thereafter in place of the regulation call. The music was beautiful on that still summer night, and was heard far beyond the limits of our Brigade. The next day I was visited by several buglers from neighboring Brigades, asking for copies of the music which I gladly furnished. I think no general order was issued from army headquarters authorizing the substitution of this for the regulation call, but as each brigade commander exercised his own discretion in such minor matters, the call was gradually taken up throughout the Army of the Potomac."
“Taps” was first played at a military funeral during the Peninsular Campaign in 1862 on the orders of Captain John C. Tidball of Battery A, 2nd Artillery. His group was in an advance position, concealed in the woods, when a well-respected soldier was killed. Fearing that firing three volleys would be unsafe (considering how close they were to the enemy), Tidball ordered “Taps” be played.” It quickly became popular throughout the Army, a fact of which Captain Tidball remained proud. “Battery A has the honor of having introduced this custom into the service, and it is worthy of historical note.”
Today Taps is played every day at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and every night at the Arlington National Cemetery, both to - call an end to the day and as a tribute to those that gave the 'last full measure of devotion'.