Remembering Our Fallen
Delivering Your Remembrances
During the “National Memorial Day Concert” each year, we invite audience members to submit a remembrance, eulogy, prayer or poem in honor of friends and loved ones who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Each year after the concert, we carefully read every single one of the submitted messages. Your remembrances are deeply moving and inspire us to continue producing the “National Memorial Day Concert.” Thank you.
Each year in the fall, we visit the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery (for the fallen buried there and for those who have fallen in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan).
At each location we conduct a remembrance ceremony including:
On a cold but beautiful day in November, 2008, we swere honored when LTC Frank Murphy (Ret.) attended our Washington, DC ceremonies. Frank is a veteran who served as a First Lieutenant in the Korean Conflict (453d Engineer Battalion, Company A) and did two tours during the Vietnam War, first as a Major and then as a Lieutenant Colonel (1st Special Forces Group, primarily in the Delta area).
At the conclusion of the Korean Memorial ceremony, a visitor emerged from the crowd and introduced himself. Born in South Korea, he now researches Alzheimer’s Disease at MIT. While traveling in Washington he made time to visit the Memorial because he felt his life opportunities, particularly his education, had largely been possible due to the valor and service of American soldiers who fought in Korea. He asked to personally thank the Korean War veterans among us for their service. As providence would have it, Frank Murphy had been stationed in Taegu, this gentleman’s home village. The moving, remarkable encounter of these two men elevated the already meaningful day, reminding us of why we hold the remembrance ceremonies each year.
Frank Murphy said of the day:
The Story of “Taps”
Many are familiar with the haunting melody of “taps,” but few know the story of its origin. During the Civil War, in July 1862, when the Army of the Potomac was in camp, Brig. Gen. Daniel Butterfield summoned his brigade bugler to his tent. Butterfield, who disliked the colorless “extinguish lights” bugle call then in use, whistled a new tune and ask the bugler to sound it for him. After repeated trials and note changes, the call was finally arranged to suit Gen. Butterfield’s taste and used for the first time that night. The call soon spread to other units of the Union Army as well as those of the Confederates. Taps was made an official bugle call after the war.
Today, whenever an American is buried with military honors anywhere in the United States, the ceremony concludes with the firing of three volleys of musketry over the grave and the playing of taps, a singularly beautiful tune, melancholy, yet full of peace.
Click below to hear a lone bugler play taps, in a solemn performance at the 2011 “National Memorial Day Concert.”