Taps ~ A Remembrance

Growing up, I had heard my older brother play them countless times. My younger sister followed with the same talent. And sometimes when they weren’t around, I would give it a go on their trumpets. It seemed easy enough. Even the valves weren’t needed. The way I saw it, all I needed to work on was lip and lung control. With enough practice I was sure I could play them, too.

TAPS.

Fast forward 15 years or so and I would find myself truly hearing this melodic triad for the first time.

I wasn’t exactly sure whether I should soak them in proudly or wail them out mournfully. But as I stood there in the cool breeze of early May, I found myself once again working on my lip and lung control. Because the man they were honoring with this prideful military tradition was my grandpa.

My thoughts traveled to what caused the formal ceremony. How he had cheated age and pledged to serve this country I consider home. He traveled to Japan, offering his life to ensure those he loved at home were safe and sound.

I don’t remember war stories or hearing how long he was there. I could find out I’m sure. But the other memories that follow make me think I know enough.

The way our Japanese foreign exchange student clung to him, soaking in the phrases he remembered in her familiar tongue. She would laugh and squeal in delight. And I would think: yes. That’s my grandpa. He would then pretend he didn’t know how to translate what he said.

One Sunday afternoon he was reminiscent of the beauty he witnessed within Japan’s landscape. And he said, “I’d love to go back someday. Nikki, would you go with me?” I didn’t even let him finish his sentence before clinging to him myself squealing “Yes! I’d love to! It’s a date!”

Only we didn’t make it. No. Instead, I was here. Listening to the oldest melodic triad known country-wide. Striving to include bravery as one of the traits I’d inherited from the man I loved so deeply. Wishing osmosis could pass the lip and lung control over to me.

For  months following, I would wake abruptly, remembering the tune. The shots fired directly into my soul. I finally decided to research the piece that wouldn’t leave me. All these years and I had no idea there were even words to it.

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 near
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.

My heart was finally at ease. I gave thanks and praise for his days. For all I am because of him. And rejoiced in knowing God was nigh. God was close to both of us. And was now the one holding the two of us together.

~~~~~~~~~~

How about you? Has the song Taps ever been made personal to you? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

NOTE: I am sorry this is late. I had intended this to be my Music Monday Memorial Day post, but life got the better of me and I never found the time to write it. When I sat down last night to write, I had decided to forego it and continue on, sharing something else that has been on my heart. But the words wouldn’t come. It seems I needed to shed these first. I hope you don’t mind. Thank you for your grace.

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14 thoughts on “Taps ~ A Remembrance

  1. Nikki, thanks for sharing the words to Taps! I didn’t realize how wonderful they are. It’s too bad we only hear them at funerals …

    So sorry you didn’t get to go to Japan with your grandpa. Perhaps someday, you could visit Japan and take him in your heart.

    • I like how you think, Jerri. Yes. perhaps one day I will make it to the soil he loved so. He would really like that!
      And I agree with you. I wish I could hear the Taps more. I’m learning from others that the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts all use them regularly — so glad to hear that!
      Thrilled you stopped by and shared with me, new friend.
      All for Him with hugs to you,
      Nikki

  2. This is a lovely tribute, Nikki. I have heard Taps played a few times at funerals, most recently this past weekend and I blogged about it. I know the words and it is always moving.

    Hugs to you as you remember your grandpa.

  3. Before I became aware of how this has been used throughout the years to honor our soldiers, I was taught the 1st verse while at summer girl scout camp. Each evening as we gathered for vespers, this was the very last thing we heard each other singing right before we yelled out “Good Night, Everyone!” Very good memories, as we always became very quiet and respectful…listening to the notes lingering in praise to our Lord. Now I rarely can hear this, in any situation, without a big ol’lump rising up in my throat, tears gathering in my eyes. Like now. In honor of your Grandpa and how special he was to you!

    • I love that word, Vespers. I wanted to talk about it in this post, but I would have gotten too wordy! And I loved how you remember that — the verse from summer camp. makes me want to have my children participate in girl/boy scouts.
      As always, thank you for sharing with me, Donna. You always encourage my heart. Thank you!

  4. I love TAPS and always seem to tear up whenever they are played.

    My dad was an amazing trumpet player and I grew up hearing him play Taps every Memorial Day countless times. My favorite was when another player would echo him….chills just thinking about it.

    I have always known the words, and tend to sing them while the song is being played. If you’ve never heard it on a bugle…oh! it’s lovely!

  5. Such beautiful words, I am so glad you posted them and I plan to write them down so I’ll remember them. All is well, God is nigh and some day you’ll be together again with you grandpa in a far more beautiful land. Blessings.
    Joy

  6. Thanks for sharing this. I never knew there were words that went along with TAPS. I am writing this with tears running down my cheeks as i too miss that man you call “Grampa”. I thought about him alot this weekend and hearing them play taps at the service at the dam yesterday sent shivers down my spine. I just never knew it meant so much to you too. Thanks again…..love you!!!! Mom

    • Hope those tears brought a sense of joy. For being able to love that deeply, mom. I am trying to figure out how we’ve never talked about my healing through the words of TAPS before, but am thinking I thought it was just my silly way. You know me and music… Thanks for sharing with me. Love you, too!

    • Thanks for stopping by, friend. The words are so powerful, I guess I just had to share them. In hopes they help someone else like they have helped me. Hugs right back to you, Dolly!

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