Dear Heavenly Father, As we remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, we think of how they have followed in the footsteps of your son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Please hold our service men and women in your strong arms. Cover them with your sheltering grace and presence as they stand in the gap for our protection. We also remember the families of our troops, and ask for your unique blessings to fill their homes and your peace, provision and strength to fill their lives. May the members of our armed forces be filled with courage to face each day and may they trust in the Lord's mighty power to accomplish each task. Let our military brothers and sisters feel our love and support. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
Thank You to all those who served and gave up so much, so that everyone may have what our Country stands for.
'A toast, my friends, raise your glasses to "Absent Companions!"' - The first unofficial military toast I ever learned (and one I still use). Your response is "Absent Companions!", drain your glass and turn it over on the bar.
Of all the military bugle calls, none is so easily recognized or more apt to render emotion than Taps. Up to the Civil War, the traditional call at day's end was a tune, borrowed from the French, called Lights Out. In July of 1862, in the aftermath of the bloody Seven Days battles, hard on the loss of 600 men and wounded himself, Union General Daniel Adams Butterfield called the brigade bugler to his tent. He thought "Lights Out" was too formal and he wished to honor his men. Oliver Wilcox Norton, the bugler, tells the story, "...showing me some notes on a staff written in pencil on the back of an envelope, (he) asked me to sound them on my bugle. I did this several times, playing the music as written. He changed it somewhat, lengthening some notes and shortening others, but retaining the melody as he first gave it to me. After getting it to his satisfaction, he directed me to sound that call for Taps thereafter in place of the regulation call. The music was beautiful on that still summer night and was heard far beyond the limits of our Brigade. The next day I was visited by several buglers from neighboring Brigades, asking for copies of the music which I gladly furnished. The call was gradually taken up through the Army of the Potomac." This more emotive and powerful Taps was soon adopted throughout the military. In 1874 It was officially recognized by the U.S. Army. It became standard at military funeral ceremonies in 1891. There is something singularly beautiful and appropriate in the music of this wonderful call. Its strains are melancholy, yet full of rest and peace. Its echoes linger in the heart long after its tones have ceased to vibrate in the air.
Some pictures that I took. The first two are Santa Fe then some from Arlington.