Story behind the Last Post

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Story behind the Last Post

Post by Admin on Thu 22 Apr 2010, 06:03

British Version

The
Last Post is one of a number of bugle calls in military tradition which
mark the phases of the day. Where "Reveille" signaled the start of a soldier's
day, the "Last Post" signaled its end. It is believed originally to have
been part of a more elaborate routine, known in the British Army as "tattoo",
that had its origins in the 17th century. During the evening, a duty officer
had to do the rounds of his unit's position, checking that the sentry
posts were manned and rounding up the off-duty soldiers and packing them
off to their beds or billets. He would be accompanied by one or more musicians.
The "first post" was sounded when the duty officer started his rounds
and, as the party proceeded from post to post, a drum was played. The
drum beats told off-duty soldiers it was time to rest - if the soldiers
were billeted in a town, the beats told them it was time to quit the pubs.
"Tattoo" is a derivation of doe den tap toe, Dutch for "turn off the taps",
a call which is said to have followed the drum beats in many a Dutch pub
while English armies were campaigning through Holland and Flanders in
the 1690s. (It is also from this routine that American practice of "taps"
or "drum taps" originated.) Another bugle call was sounded when the party
completed their rounds, when they reached the "last post": this signaled
the night sentries were alert at their posts and gave one last warning
to any soldiers still at large that it was time to retire for the evening.
"Last Post" was incorporated into funeral and memorial services as a final
farewell and symbolises that the duty of the dead is over and that they
can rest in peace.



THE WORDS TO THE LAST POST

Come home! Come home! The last post is sounding
for you to hear. All good soldiers know very well there
is nothing to fear while they do what is right, and forget
all the worries they have met in their duties through the
year. A soldier cannot always be great, but he can be a
gentleman and he can be a right good pal to his comrades in
his squad. So all you soldiers listen to this – Deal fair by all
and you’ll never be amiss.


Be Brave! Be Just! Be Honest and True Men!

-----------------------------
American Version
If you have ever been to a military funeral in which The Last Post was played; this will bring a new meaning to it.

Keep in mind that this relates to the American version

Here is something everyone should know. Until I read this, I didn't know, but I checked it out and it's true:
We
have all heard the haunting song, 'The Last Post.' It's the song that
gives us the lump in our throats and usually tears in our eyes.
But, do you know the story behind the song? If not, I think you will be interested to find out about its humble beginnings.
Reportedly,
it all began in 1862 during the American Civil War, when Union Army
Captain Robert Ellicombe was with his men near Harrison's Landing in
Virginia. The Confederate Army was on the other side of the narrow
strip of land.

During the night, Captain Ellicombe heard the
moans of a soldier who lay severely wounded on the field. Not knowing
if it was a Union or Confederate soldier, the Captain decided to risk
his life and bring the stricken man back for medical attention.
Crawling on his stomach through the gunfire, the Captain reached the
stricken soldier and began pulling him toward his encampment.
When the Captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered it was actually a Confederate soldier, but the soldier was dead.
The
Captain lit a lantern and suddenly caught his breath and went numb with
shock. In the dim light, he saw the face of the soldier. It was his own
son. The boy had been studying music in the South when the war broke
out. Without telling his father, the boy enlisted in the Confederate
Army.
The following morning, heartbroken, the father asked
permission of his superiors to give his son a full military burial,
despite his enemy status. His request was only partially granted.
The Captain had asked if he could have a group of Army band members play a funeral dirge for his son at the funeral.
The request was turned down since the soldier was a Confederate.

But, out of respect for the father, they did say they could give him only one musician.

The
Captain chose a bugler. He asked the bugler to play a series of musical
notes he had found on a piece of paper in the pocket of the dead
youth's uniform.

This wish was granted.
The haunting melody, we now know as 'The Last Post' used at military funerals was born.

The words are:

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 nigh.
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
too have felt the chills while listening to 'The Last Post' but I have
never seen all the words to the song until now. I didn't even know
there was more than one verse . I also never knew the story behind the
song and I didn't know if you had either so I thought I'd pass it along.
I now have an even deeper respect for the song than I did before.

Remember Those Lost and Harmed While Serving Their Country.
Also Remember Those Who Have Served And Returned; and for those presently serving in the Armed Forces.
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