We in the United States have all heard the haunting song, 'Taps.' It's the song that
gives us the 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 lyrics 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