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Taps is a familiar bugle call played during flag ceremonies and at the  conclusion of military funerals of the United States Armed Forces. It is said to have originated from the Dutch tune or taptoe, meaning “close the beer taps  and send the troops back to camp”. The lyrics are not as familiar as the tune. Here are the lyrics. 

Day is done, gone the sun, from the lakes, from the hills, from the sky, All is well, safely rest. GOD is nigh, 

Fading the light, dims the sight, and a star gems the sky, gleaning 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. 

The tune is a variation of the bugle call known as the Scott Tatoo played in 1835- 1868. It was arranged in its present form by Union Brigadier General Daniel  Butterfield. The tune is often called “Butterfield’s Lullaby” or ”Day is Done”.  Soon thereafter Taps was played by both Union and Confederate forces during  the Civil War. In 1874 it was officially recognized by the U. S. Army. Captain John  C. Tidball, West Point Graduate Class of 1848, started the custom of playing Taps  at military funerals in July 1862, followed with the twenty-one gun salute. Although primarily used within the military, several local or special variations of  the tune called Echo Taps are played by the Girl Scouts of America and military  schools such as Norwich University, Texas A & M University, New Mexico Military  Institute, The Citadel and Virginia Tech when a member or former member of  the school of cadets is killed in action. 

At Texas A & M University, Echo Taps, called Silver Taps, was held on the Corps of  Cadets Quad at 10.30 pm. A bugler was posted at the north and south end of  the Quad. They each played a portion of Taps as the assembled Cadets  saluted. By far one of the most honored traditions, Silver Taps is the final tribute 

paid to a student who was enrolled in the University as a graduate or  undergraduate student. The initial Taps was played in 1898 in honor of Lawrence  Sullivan Ross, former Governor of Texas and President of the University. Currently Silver Taps is held on the Academic Plaza where the Lawrence Sullivan Ross statue stands.


Walter D. (Wally) Wilkerson, Jr., MD 

Montgomery County Texas Republican Party 

December 2020


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