by Lois Bolin
Old Naples Historian

Taps, the twenty-four notes of perhaps the most recognizable and emotionally charged music ever played on a bugle is today associated with military funerals, but such was not always the case. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, this melancholy bugle call is an alteration of the obsolete word “taptoo,” derived from the Dutch “taptoe.” Taptoe was the command — “Tap toe!” — to shut (“toe to”) the “tap” of a keg.

Union Gen. Daniel Adams Butterfield made this revision, which is our present-day Taps, during America’s Civil War. Before

Bugler Bob McDonald

this revision, the U.S. Army’s infantry end of the day call was the French’s final call, “L’extinction des feux.” Believing that the French was too formal, he hummed the “taptoo” music to an aide who could read and write music. In July 1862, Butterfield’s brigade bugler, Oliver W. Norton, played his adaptation.

Other brigades appreciated this new end of the day call and asked to have a copy, which was adopted for their regiments. It became the official Army bugle call after the war and in 1874 it was given the official name of “Taps.” By 1891, the Army infantry regulations required Taps to be played at military funeral ceremonies.

In 2000, Tom Day formed the nonprofit, Bugles Across America, when Congress passed legislation stating that Veterans have a right to at least two uniformed military people to fold the flag and play Taps on a CD player. Bugles Across America, in recognition of our Veterans service to their country, wanted each Veteran to have a live rendition of Taps by a real bugler. Today, Bugles Across America has over 4000 bugler volunteers located in all 50 states and are always looking for volunteers NAPLES SPIRIT OF ‘45.

In 2010, the 111th Congress passed a Concurrent Resolution making the 2nd Sunday in August the “official” day to remember the ending of WWII and the legacy of our Greatest Generation. That resolution calls upon all Americans to “Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive.” On this 2nd Sunday in August, beginning at sunset at the WWII Memorial in Washington, D. C., members of Buglers Across America will be playing Taps in
memory of those men and women who gave their last full measure of devotion. As the sun crosses over these United States, communities take part in this new national tradition with the final Taps ceremony occurring at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific located at Punchbowl Crater in Honolulu, Hawaii.

In August 2010, in honor of the new Congressional Resolution, Naples held their first Greatest Generation Breakfast on the 2nd Saturday to remember the “spirit” of the WWII era – that time when all Americans of all ages pitched in to do their part to defeat the greatest tyranny the world had ever known. Naples held their Taps Across America ceremony the following day. SWFL Veterans Alliance invites you to join the Naples Spirit of ‘45 Committee and sponsors on Sunday, August 13 at 6:30 p.m. at Lowdermilk Park for the 8th Annual Taps Across America. You will enjoy USSIV Naples submarine, music by the Verona Walk Chorus and Naples Concert Band’s Buglers.

Because the mission of Naples Spirit of ‘45 is to connect the latest generation to the Greatest Generation, you will see Young Marines post the colors, Golden Gate JROTC lead the procession to the beach where the Northside Naples Kiwanis Club will unfurl their American flag, which requires 29 volunteers to help. Veterans follow the processions to the shoreline, where they will hand the wreath to Venturing Crew 242 who will ferry it to the awaiting Coast Guard.

As the wreath makes its way out into the Gulf, you will hear the sounds of Taps as RET Maj. Jessica Sterns provides a flyover tribute. Then it’s back to the South Gazebo for M & M’s Ice Cream Social with Sage Catering Spirit Cookies. It’s a family friendly event and open to the public. Parking is free and if you are early, you just may score a chair under a tent thanks to Taylor Rental and J.B. and Dusty Holmes.

Taps Across America’s sponsors are Arthrex, NDN, WAAV 101.1FM, Life in Naples, BIZPARK, The Francis & Kathleen Rooney Foundation and Wayne & Lois Smith. Naples Spirit of ‘45 Weekend Tribute benefits the Peter Thomas History Fund.

For more information contact, Lois Bolin-Smith at 239.594.2978 or visit the website at http://swflveteransalliance.org/.

1 reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.