There are many people who believe that the saddest piece of music ever written is the Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber. That piece of music is absolutely on of my favorites, but for me the saddest music will always be the sound a solo bugle playing Taps. Nine years ago I listened to that sound at my father’s funeral and I wept. It never fails to pierce my soul when I hear it. It never fails to take me back to that moment of loss. And it never fails to remind me to be grateful to all who have served in the armed forces. That is especially true listening to it on Memorial Day.
Memorial Day is an annual favorite of mine. There are so many opportunities for beautiful images — it is exceptionally easy to photograph and simultaneously poignant. This year I photographed two events: a Sunday service at Grace Baptist Church that focused on remembering those who are lost and classified as POW/MIA and a second at a little cemetery called Fairview with a color guard, honor guard, and the playing of Taps. My favorite photo from the lot is this of Andrew Bergstrom hanging flags outside the church early Sunday morning. There are many versions of this photo, some that are quiter, some that have more flags, or compositions I preferred, but of all of them, this one, where he is just stepping up to hang the flag, this one had the feel of what photographers refer to as a moment. So, we went with this picture as our main art for tomorrows paper and these were some of the secondaries…
Some years after my father’s funeral I was introduced to the so-called lyrics to Taps. From what information I have gathered the lyrics are unofficial. They music was not originally written with lyrics in mind, but somewhere along the line someone wrote some and they became commonly associated with those simple notes.
Day is done
Gone the sun
From the lakes
From the hills
From the skies
All is well
God is nigh.
With deepest respect I send my thanks to all who have served.