May 26 • 03:25 AM

The story behind haunting music of 'Taps'

May 21, 2008
It certainly does not feel like posie planting time today. So cold and windy, and I heard the weatherman say it might rain on Saturday. Just when we would like to be heading to the cemeter-ies to plant flowers for our loved ones. But, this is Michigan and who knows what the weekend will bring?

Have I ever shared the following with you? It is called 'The Story Behind Taps.'

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 moan of a soldier who lay mor-tally 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 encampmant. 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. Suddenly he caught his breath and went numb with shock. In the dim light, he saw the face of the soldier. It was his son. The boy had been studying music in the South when the war broke out. Without telling

his father, he enlisted in the Confederate Army. The following morning, heartbroken, the father asked per-mission of his superiors to give his son a full military burial despite his enemy status. His request was partially granted. The Captain had asked if he could have a group of Army band members play a fun-eral dirge for the son at the funeral. That request was turned down since the sold-ier was a Confederate. 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 his dead son's uniform. This wish was granted. This music was the haunting melody we now know as 'Taps' that is used at all military funerals:

Day is done. Gone the sun. From the lakes, from the hills, from the sky.

All is well. Safely rest. God is nigh.

I hope to see my fellow Almonters at Burley Park Memorial Day when we pay tribute to our Almont boys who gave their lives for our country, including my brother, Roy Park. Roy's children come every year from Columbus, Ohio, to pay tribute to their father.

— Country Cousin

Castle Creek
Milnes Ford
05 - 26 - 19
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