Originally Posted by Eddie_T
It would be for the family, if they don't request it it doesn't happen. Do you want Taps? It has a religious phrase in the most common version. There are wordings that are different but this is the one I play;
Day is done
Gone the sun
From the lakes
From the hills
From the sky
Rest in peace
God is nigh
I've never actually heard Taps sung, although I heard it played at the (fortunately) few military funerals I attended, and every night I was on base. Every night at 2200, I stood at attention, as did everyone else outdoors within earshot, listening to those 24 notes and reminded myself of all those who served before me and with me.
During the sounding of Retreat at 1700 (IIRC), similar respects were supposed to be rendered. Frequently, I'd see servicemen duck into buildings, or quietly grumble that they had to stand around and "salute a telephone pole" (We were to face the flag, or if we could not see it, the nearest PA speaker, which were mounted on telephone poles around base).
I never saw anyone grumble about standing around for Taps. That alone tells me that the emotional meaning of those 24 notes is far deeper than most servicemen will admit.
Almost Invariably, there was some rowdiness going on somewhere on base after hours. Second shift didn't wind down until well after midnight. But, for a few minutes after 2200, there was a brief calm, as everyone took a few moments to let those sobering notes wash over them before getting back to "play time'.
More than once, I saw people furtively wipe an eye on their sleeve before going about their evening recreation.
The phrase "Good Bye" has religious meaning if one traces it far enough back. The commandment "Love thy neighbor" is no less a good moral imperative because it is strongly associated with Christianity. To me, Taps is a deeply honored and revered military tradition, irrespective of its lyrics.
Yes, I think my family would appreciate Taps being played at my funeral. I fully agree that if a family wants to recognize a religious meaning in a flag ceremony, the honor guard should assist them. Please don't mistake my own opinion that religion is a slap in the face to the non-religious to mean that honor guards should refrain from ever conducting a religious ceremony. I'm saying the exact opposite - if the family wants it, do it. My family doesn't want that.