May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Tradition

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died serving our nation. Depending on your age, flag-decorated gravestones and Taps echoing through the cemetery are Memorial Day memories from childhood. But, do you know how Taps came to be the standard for military funerals?

In July 1862, after the loss of 600 men in battle, Union General Daniel Butterfield wanted to honor his men. Traditionally, the end of day ballad was a French tune called Lights Out, but General Butterfield felt it was too formal for the somber aftermath of battle. He called upon his bugler, Oliver Wilcox Norton, to play the notes of a bugle call revised by General Butterfield himself. The music created that night is the melancholy tune known as Taps. In 1891, it officially became mandatory at military funerals. It's also played during flag ceremonies and at Boy Scout and Girl Scout camps at day's end.

A National Moment of Remembrance was passed in December of 2000 and asks for a moment of silence followed by Taps at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day to remember, reflect, and honor those who have given their lives in service to our country.

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Click on this link to hear Taps played:

Best regards,
Sean M. Dowling, CFP, EA
President, The Dowling Group Wealth Management

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