Centennial Commission Partner Organization Taps for Veterans
Sounds of Remembrance to commemorate the end of WWI with Taps
By Jari Villanueva
Taps for Veterans organization
On November 11, 2018, at precisely 11:00 am (local times), buglers and trumpeters from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other countries will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War with a worldwide sounding of Taps and The Last Post, sponsored by Taps for Veterans.
Each performer will sound their call at a location of their choosing. Those locations will include WWI monuments, memorials, public squares, churches, and Veterans Day and Remembrance Day ceremonies.
As of October 24, more than 300 buglers from 39 states and 5 countries had already signed up to participate and organizers hope to eventually have more than 1000 participants registered. Interested buglers and trumpeters should register at https://tapsforveterans.org/soundsofremembrance/. All registered participants will be listed on the event website and included on the interactive world map of the event.
The videos they submit of their sounding of Taps or The Last Post on November 11 will also be posted on the website and all participants will receive a commemorative patch from Taps for Veterans following the event. In addition one participant, whose name will be chosen from the registered list, will receive an original World War One era bugle.
“The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month”
Kelly Whitson, an archivist writing for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, described the following episode that took place in France on the morning of the November 11, 1918. After the armistice was signed in a rail car in the Forest of Compiègne, General John (“Black Jack”) Pershing ordered his lead bugler, Hartley (“Hot Lips”) Edwards, to sound Taps at precisely 11am. Edward was confused, as Taps was only sounded at day’s end. Nevertheless, he stood next to the rail car and “did as he was told.” It wasn’t until later that he learned he had sounded the official call that signified the end of the Great War. He later repeated the call in 1919 in Paris, under the Arc de Triomphe, as part of the first of many Armistice Day celebrations.
Taps is America’s “National Song of Remembrance.” It is sounded daily at military funerals and memorial services throughout the United States. The Last Post serves the same purpose in the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth.
In 1914, after H.G. Wells famously wrote, “This is a people’s war”, the Last Post became known as “the people’s anthem.” It has been sounded at the Menin Gate in Ieper (Ypres), Belgium, every evening since 1928 to honor the dead of World War I (except during WWII, when the ceremony was held in London).
The Imperial War Museum in London reminds us that:
- The First World War was a turning point in world history.
- It claimed the lives of over 16 million people across the globe and had a huge impact on those who experienced it.
- It was the first real instance of total war. Whole nations were pitted against each other; millions of men fought on land, at sea and in the air; modern weaponry caused mass casualties, and civilian populations suffered hardships and came under threat of enemy attack.
- The war and its consequences shaped much of the twentieth century, and the impact of it can still be felt today.
In 2013, an Act of Congress created the World War I Centennial Commission in the United States to organize programs and other activities to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of what was originally known as The Great War. According to the Commission, World War I remains America’s forgotten war, even though more Americans gave their lives during that war than during Korea and Vietnam combined. The devastation in Europe also set the course for “the American Century.”
TAPS FOR VETERANS is an organization led by former military musicians and active and retired military veterans who understand the profound importance of properly sounding Taps, our “National Song of Remembrance,” as a way of expressing the nation’s gratitude for a veteran’s service. Co-founder Jari Villanueva is retired from the United States Air Force, where he spent 23 years with The USAF Band in Washington, DC. He is considered the nation’s foremost authority on Taps and military bugle calls. Co-founder Mark Paradis is a former United States Marine musician who is a media consultant and business analyst. Taps For Veterans also works closely with Wendy Allen, the founder of “One Hundred Nights of Taps, Gettysburg,” to coordinate and schedule buglers from around the country who participate in that annual program co-sponsored by the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania and Gettysburg National Military Park. Every evening from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the 24 notes of Taps fill the air in Gettysburg as the famous call is sounded in honor of those who have served our nation.
More information about how to volunteer or support the Taps For Veterans mission of helping ensure live buglers for military funerals can be found at www.tapsforveterans.org.