Just in time for Memorial Day, here’s a video that shows soldiers playing “Taps,” the iconic bugle call at the Arlington National Cemetery.
“Taps” is usually played at dusk, during flag ceremonies, and during military funerals by the U.S. Armed Forces.
The Army says of the video: “The buglers of The United States Army Band ‘Pershing’s Own’ perform over 5000 missions a year in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA. Featured here are SSG Jesse Tubb (summer) and SSG Drew Fremder (winter).”
Officially, it is supposed to be played by a single bugle or trumpet. “I was OK at my dads funeral until [‘Taps’] started then it just hit me like a brick wall,” as one commenter put it.
The tune is a variant of an earlier bugle call—the “Scott Tattoo,” which was used by the U.S. from 1835 until 1860, according to West-Point.org, an organization that is “connecting almost 30,000 USMA grads” and others.
The current “Taps” was arranged by Union Army Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield, who was an American Civil War general and Medal of Honor recipient. Within months of its creation during the Civil War, it was used by both Union and Confederate forces, and it was officially recognized by the U.S. Army in 1874.
It also has lyrics, according to the Pennsylvania Military College:
Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, 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.
Sun has set, shadows come,
Time has fled, Scouts must go to their beds
Always true to the promise that they made.
While the light fades from sight,
And the stars gleaming rays softly send,
To thy hands we our souls, Lord, commend.
Memorial Day is Monday, May 27.
It is a federal holiday, which means banks, schools, the post office, federal offices, state offices, the DMV, and local offices are closed.