Mike Powlison performs taps at a Veteran's Day ceremony in Burbank,… (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles…)
WASHINGTON -- Taps, the plaintive bugle call sounded at many military funerals, has earned widespread Congressional support for designation as the National Song of Remembrance.
One line in a thick defense bill approved by the Senate this week would provide the designation. With similar language in the House version of the legislation, the provision is virtually certain to be approved in the final bill if it clears Congress before the end of the year.
"This is a truly remarkable and long overdue recognition for the bugle call taps,’’ said Jari Villanueva, a retired Arlington Cemetery military bugler who heads Taps 150, an organization set up to commemorate this year’s 150th anniversary of the bugle call's composition.
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who sought the provision in the defense bill, called it a "fitting tribute to all the military members who have given their lives to defend this country and protect freedom.’’
Taps, as the National Song of Remembrance, would join the national floral emblem (the rose), national tree (the oak) and national march (John Philip Sousa’s "The Stars and Stripes Forever"). Legislation has been introduced to designate the bison the national mammal.
The 24 notes of the call have held a "special place in our American heritage,’’ Villanueva, a member of Buglers Hall of Fame from Baltimore, said in an email. "Originally conceived as a replacement signal to order lights out at the end of the day in the military, the call transformed into the funeral honors accorded all uniformed persons who have faithfully served our country."
Taps is still sounded every evening at military bases to signal Day is Done and the notes of Taps have become part of our national conscience, Villanueva said.
The House bill also would establish recommended conduct during the sounding of taps. All present should remove their hat and stand at attention with their right hand over their heart. Those in uniform should also stand at attention and hold a military salute until the last note is played.
The legislation provides for an exception when taps is sounded as the final bugle call of the day at a military base.
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