By: “JJ” Jamison
Teller County Clerk & Recorder

When I vote I hear Taps bugling in my mind and heart. A musical reminder of the sacrifices made protecting my privilege to vote. I believe voting is not just a right. Voting is a privilege and responsibility that I take seriously. While completing my ballot this General Election I thought of the stories I’ve heard over the years of the origin of Taps.

The first one I heard originated in 1862. Robert Ellicombe, a Union Army officer heard the moans of a wounded soldier. He found the soldier in the dark and with the dawn discovered it was his son. That young Ellicombe had a musical writing in his pocket, Taps. Although that story tugs at my heart I fear it may be legend.

The more practical version is the one told by Oliver Wilcox Norton a bugler also in July of 1862. Our military had borrowed a bugle tune from the French that called “lights out”. After a bloody battle General Daniel Adams Butterfield requested the tune altered from the formal version to something to honor his men. He wanted notes lengthened and some shortened, retaining the melody and making it more emotive and adding power. In 1874 the Taps as we now know it was officially recognized by the U. S. Army. For me, by the playing of the second note a well of tears is evoked. I thought you might like to be made aware of the words:

Fading light dims the sight,
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright.
From afar drawing nigh—Falls the night.

Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh,

Then good night, peaceful night,
Till the light of the dawn shineth bright;
God is near, do not fear—Friend, good night.

The above information is Courtesy of the United States Army Center for Military History. Election Day is Tuesday November 6th, 2012. We have made it even more convenient for you to vote early. So, do exercise your privilege and VOTE. Thank you.