Memorial Day is the official start of summer with a three-day weekend celebrated with cookouts and parades. However, it is more than a picnic day; it is a day of remembrance. When did Memorial Day start?
In the years following the Civil War, Decoration Day was when mourners placed flowers and flags on the graves of fallen soldiers. The first commemoration was in 1868 at Arlington National Cemetery.
In 1971 Memorial Day was made a national holiday in the United States. It is the most solemn national day, commemorated with parades and decorating the graves of soldiers.
At the remembrance services, often the solemn tune “Taps” is played. Originally the bugler played the tune signaling “Lights Out,” for the end of the day. In 1891 it became a component of military funerals and ceremonies like laying a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington Cemetery in Washington, DC.
“Taps” has been called “24 Notes that Tap Deep Emotions.” I agree. When those 24 notes sounded during my father’s military funeral in a national cemetery, tears filled my eyes and sorrow overwhelmed my heart. Yet at the same time I felt pride and love. It is a melody of remembrance. Someday I hope to visit the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery on Memorial Day to stand among the decorated graves of the brave soldiers.
Thank you to those who served and gave their all for freedom.
Watch this video of the history of “Taps” and be inspired about this haunting melody.