Signal of completion
Soldier fought valiantly
There is no military bugle call, so easily recognized, that is more apt to render emotion than the call “TAPs”. TAPs began as a revision to the signal for Extinguish Lights (Lights Out) at the end of the day.
In the earliest army units, ie, Revolutionary War through about 1860’s, the song used was the one which had been borrowed from the French, “Tatto”, the French Bugle Call used for Lights Out. In July 1862, during the Civil War and in particular the ‘Seven Days Battle for Richmond’, General Daniel Butterfield commander of 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, V Army Corp, Army of the Potomac decided to replace the song “Tatto” with a less formal one. He summoned his bugler, Oliver W. Norton, from Erie, Pennsylvania and the two composed the song we know as TAPs. (credit)
TAPs concludes all military funerals with honors at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as hundreds of others around the United States. The song takes on a special meaning when we go to the funeral of a veteran and the song is played as the last and special sendoff for a man who has served in defense of his country.
When TAPs is played at a funeral, it is customary to salute if in uniform, or to place the right hand over the heart if out of uniform.
© rgb for “On Dragonfly Wings with Buttercup Tea”, 2011