By Melodious Monk
This Memorial Day, hearing the hauntingly beautiful sounds of the simple melody we call ‘taps’ brought unexpected tears to my eyes. There’s a fair bit of mystery about the exact origin of this tune coming out of the Civil War, but the emotional impact of these 24 repetitious notes is undeniable. Originally written as the call to signal the end of the day, today most of us best associate the call with funerals and memorial services. I had forgotten the lyrics to this beautiful melody:
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.
I especially find comfort and mystery in the last line of the 1st and 3rd stanzas, “God is nigh.” What a wonderful way to end each day, remembering that no matter what has befallen us today, God was there. It’s a gentle reminder to put our tiny individual lives in the perspective of a vast and grand Heaven. Likewise, it is a moving statement to make at the remembrance of a loved one’s life, realizing that these fallen earthly vessels are now “nigh” with God. May God bless all of our veterans, and those who continue to serve in the armed forces today.