Archive for May, 2011
On May 30th, 1916, the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet under Admiral Sir John Jellicoe (NOT Beatty! Thanks Alfred!) put to sea to upon hearing that Germany’s Hochseeflotte was preparing to depart Keil, likely headed for a raid or bombardment of the English coast. The German fleet, under Admiral Alfred Tirpitz, had planned to lure the English out of harbor and into an open fight in order to break the stranglehold blockade that was already having serious consequences for the German war effort.
On the afternoon of May 31st, 1916, 95 years ago today, the two fleets sighted each other in the stormy North Sea off the Danish coast. The result was the most famous sea battle of the First World War. Called Jutland by the British, and Skaggerak by the Germans, the battle would be the great test of the massive forces of dreadnought capital ships that each nation had so feverishly designed and built over the last decade.
Accounts of the battle are legion, in superb detail or in overview, and I will not attempt recitation here. Jutland, however, remains a strange case study by Naval historians and enthusiasts alike. The battle itself was a far-flung, confused, brutal slugging match that contained heroism, timidity, skill, incompetence, good information ignored, bad information believed, and heartbreaking loss and sacrifice.
The greatest irony is that, with the entire of the effort expended by hundreds of ships and tens of thousands of sailors, Jutland was entirely indecisive. Neither fleet accomplished their objectives tactically, and the situation strategically remained virtually unchanged, as if the battle had never taken place. However, the examination of the Battle of Jutland is more than a dead academic exercise. There are lessons of command and control, clarity of orders and intent, intelligence and communications success and failure, aggressiveness and passivity. The value and limitation of obsolescent warships, employed by both sides, is pertinent today. Jutland provides object examples of asymmetric warfare in its modern sense, with the torpedo and the vessels that carried it, being feared by the commanders of both fleets. Also, Jutland shows decisively the value of ships designed to absorb punishment as well as mete it out. Indeed, two of the iconic images of the battle in the cold and stormy waters are, respectively, the badly-damaged German battle-cruiser Seydlitz, burned and holed, down by the bows with 5,000 tons of water in her, limping into the Jade, and the grainy image of a massive column of smoke and flame that marked the instantaneous death of the British battle-cruiser Queen Mary.
Jutland was perhaps the culmination of six decades of development of steel warships, and had its roots in the echoes of Tsushima, Manila Bay, Santiago, and even Hampton Roads. Jutland also provided us a harbinger of new and nascent capabilities, aircraft and aircraft carriers, that would come to dominate the next great war and beyond. Technologically, the Battle of Jutland was a watershed whose effects still resonate with navies worldwide. And it was fought 95 years ago this day.
With yesterday’s announcement of General Dempsey as the new Chairman this brief might be of relevance.
About a month ago, there was a request for volunteers to participate in the Memorial Day Ceremonies here in Belgium. Four Sailors and myself volunteered. One other Sailor and myself on the Color Guard and the rest as members of the Honor Platoon or wreath bearers. I’ve marched before; I’ve held a rifle before. But, my god, I’ve never done so much of it over the course of a weekend — not even in being part of a 900 Division in boot camp.
“We have gone forth from our shores repeatedly over the last hundred years and we’ve done this as recently as the last year in Afghanistan and put wonderful young men and women at risk, many of whom have lost their lives, and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in…”
— Secretary of State Colin Powell
There are three cemeteries in Belgium: Ardennes, Henri-Chapelle and Flanders, we honored the fallen at all three. The love and care put into the grounds there are at a level beyond anything I can remember seeing in the States. There was literally nothing that looked unkept, everything was immaculate and proper. Those who care for the grounds there we owe a huge debt.
I really was not sure what to expect from a Memorial Day celebration outside of the United States. I wouldn’t expect anyone but American Citizens to ever want to honor the memory of those we lost in battle. When we practiced we were told that they were large, well attended ceremonies. But, I still couldn’t conceptualize what I actually saw over the course of the weekend.
I don’t know the exact count. But, there must have been over 200 people in attendance at each Cemetery (standing room only at Flanders), the minority of which were Americans. I met a very nice lady from the Netherlands and her friend. They had taken pictures of me at Henri-Chapelle and shared them. She has adopted grave sites and the names of the missing at Cemeteries in the Netherlands, Belgium and France. She attends the Ceremonies every year, and has never looked to be recognized for her support. There were a significant number of Belgian Veterans in attendance, you could spot them by their awesome mustaches (it seriously must be a requirement to grow an epic mustache to receive veteran benefits in Belgium) and the medals they wore. Many had their Unit’s colors with them, embroidered with the dates of the campaigns they fought in. School Children in Waregem have learned our National Anthem since the 1920s, both the Belgian and US National Anthems were sung by them. Speeches were given by the US Ambassadors to the European Union and Belgium, The US Military Representative to NATO and Senator Leahy. From Belgium the King sent a representative and the Mayors of the towns in which the Cemeteries are located also spoke.
In all 14,151 of our dead were honored. There were no Belgians, Americans, or anyone of any Nationality there. There were only we who remembered those who gave the last full measure of devotion to a cause greater than themselves and their homelands. The French version of the Belgian National Anthem has a line which translates as “To you we stretch our hearts and arms” and that is how I felt this Memorial Day weekend. I would never expect anyone from a Nation other than the US to thank me or anyone for our service and the sacrifices we make. But, they do and they are sincere when they give thanks.
BOSTON (NNS) — Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced today the next Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier will be named the USS John F. Kennedy.
The selection John F. Kennedy, designated CVN 79, honors the 35th President of the United States and pays tribute to his service in the Navy, in the government, and to the nation.
“President John F. Kennedy exemplified the meaning of service, not just to country, but service to all humanity,” said Mabus. “I am honored to have the opportunity to name the next aircraft carrier after this great Sailor and inspirational leader, and to keep the rich tradition and history of USS John F. Kennedy sailing in the U.S. Fleet.”
Well, guess that explains why no response from SECNAV to our petition submitted to name the next CVN “Enterprise.” Going to start a new one and add the signatures from the previous one. This fight’s not over. – SJS
[Reprinted in Full with permission]
The following is a speech I gave last night at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City where I humbly accepted this year’s Intrepid Freedom Award. The speech gives some of my thoughts on Memorial Day through letters written by some of the fallen and their families. Please share with me your reflections on this Memorial Day weekend.
“The Words They Leave To Us”
I want to spend my few minutes tonight with you giving voice to those who cannot be with us. I want to share with you the voices of the fallen and their families.
I want to give voice to the men and women who have given their lives for this nation.
Together, across the years of our nation’s history, they answered the call.
They stood the watch.
They looked neither left nor right.
They did not search for an exit.
They walked steadily and unafraid into mortal danger, knowing all the risks and all the costs.
On rolling ships at sea … on dusty streets under a burning sun …in the high mountain passes … and in the stormy skies … they said simply and bravely, “I will go.”
So many … too many … were lost to us forever.
But in their letters, and those of their loved ones, written in the last days of their lives, there is majesty and honesty and humility that deserve our attention as we approach this Memorial Day.
So tonight, I’d simply like to share with you excerpts from several timeless letters—words written by our nation’s military heroes and their families…who have borne this great country through times of peril and darkness – who have sacrificed so much…so that we could be here tonight rendering our own salute to freedom.
These are beautiful and sad letters … some of them from grieving parents talking about their lost sons and daughters … others, the “last” letter home that begins with the heart-breaking phrase, “If you are reading this letter, it is because I am gone …”
Let me begin with the Civil War, and a letter written by Major Sullivan Ballou, a 32-year old member of the Second Regiment of Rhode Island Volunteers, who died in the Battle of Bull Run.
He wrote to his wife, Sarah, just five days before the battle that would cost his life:
“My very dear Sarah, the indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days—perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write you again, I feel impelled to write lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more … Sarah: my love for you is deathless.
It seems to bind me to you with mighty cables that nothing but omnipotence could break: and yet my love of country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on with all these chains to the battlefield. Never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name. Do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again.”
The second letter comes from World War I. A grieving father from this very city writes the following about the loss of his son. “It is hard to open the letters from those you love who are dead; but Quentin’s last letters, written during his three weeks at the front, when of his squadron, on average, a man was killed every day, are written with real joy in the ‘great adventure.’ He was engaged to a very beautiful girl, of very fine and high character; it is heartbreaking for her, as well as for his mother. He had his crowded hour, he died at the crest of life, in the glory of the dawn.”
Quentin was a pilot who was shot down and died behind German lines just months before the end of World War I in 1918. The dead son’s full name was Quentin Roosevelt, the youngest son of former President Theodore Roosevelt, a New York father who lost his beloved son.
Memorial Day, here in this wonderful setting in New York City, would be incomplete without honoring and remembering those who are serving and sacrificing right now: our nation’s youth, America’s sons and daughters, who are fighting yet another battle—struggling to bring peace and freedom to Iraq and Afghanistan—while keeping us all safe from those that would do us harm.
We have lost many brave men and women in Iraq. Army Private First Class Diego Rincon of Georgia wrote his mother a “last letter home.”
“Whether I make it or not, it’s all part of the plan. It can’t be changed, only completed. “Mother” will be the last word I’ll say. Your face will be the last picture that goes through my eyes. I just hope that you’re proud of what I am doing and have faith in my decisions. I will try hard and not give up. I just want to say sorry for anything I have ever done wrong. And I’m doing it all for you, Mom. I love you.”
Another letter from Iraq, this one from US Army Captain Michael MacKinnon, to his young daughter Madison:
“Madison, I’m sorry I broke my promise to you when I said I was coming back. You were the jewel of my life. I don’t think anyone would ever be good enough for you. Stay beautiful, stay sweet. You will always be daddy’s little girl.”
Captain Michael MacKinnon died in October, 2005, in Iraq.
More recently, another father gave voice and image to his son—a Marine Lieutenant lost in today’s conflict in Afghanistan.
“Robert was killed protecting our country, its people, and its values from a terrible and relentless enemy in Afghanistan. We are a broken-hearted but proud family. He was a wonderful and precious boy living a meaningful life. He was in exactly the place he wanted to be, doing exactly what he wanted to do, surrounded by the best men on this earth—his Marines and a Navy Doc.”
This letter was written by a cherished friend of mine, Marine Lieutenant General John Kelly.
* * *
What can we learn from these powerful letters?
To answer that, let me close with excerpts from just one more letter. It was written from Iraq as a “just in case” letter by Private First Class Jesse A. Givens, a letter to be delivered to his wife and children only in the event of his death.
“My family,” he writes, “I never thought that I would be writing a letter like this. I really don’t know where to start. The happiest moments in my life all deal with my little family. I will always have with me the small moments we all shared. The moments when we quit taking life so serious and smiled. The sounds of a beautiful boy’s laughter or the simple nudge of a baby unborn. You will never know how complete you have made me…I did not want to have to write this letter. There is so much more I need to say, so much more I need to share…Please keep my babies safe. Please find it in your heart to forgive me for leaving you alone. . . Teach our babies to live life to the fullest, tell yourself to do the same.
I will always be there with you…Do me a favor, after you tuck the children in, give them hugs and kisses from me. Go outside and look at the stars and count them. Don’t forget to smile.
Love Always, Your husband, Jess.”
The letter was delivered in May 2003, two weeks before the birth of their son and just after his death in combat …
* * *
So again, I ask, what can we take from these letters, so sweet and sad and powerful in their simplicity and honesty?
First, and most importantly, that we are a lucky nation indeed to have such men and women, who say to us, “I will go.”
Second, that their words matter. Their lives had weight and importance. That we read their letters and in events like this, respect them and grieve with their families for their loss. And perhaps most importantly, that we support their families. That is what INTREPID is all about.
Third, a lesson for all of us who go on in this world, safe and protected due to the sacrifice of others: we should live our lives to the fullest.
To that end, I’d like to close on this magical night on board this historic ship by repeating the words of young Private First Class Jess Givens—who will be forever young in our hearts and our prayers. What he has to tell is us far more profound than anything this aging Admiral has to say:
Hug and kiss your children
Go outside and look at the stars
Don’t forget to smile
That is pretty good advice for a Memorial Day … or any day.
In the end, what else really matters?
So let us remember our heroes—those of our past and those of our present who walk among us right now.
Again, this is THEIR award. I am proud only to give voice to them tonight.
God Bless you all and God Bless America.
Adm. James Stavridis
Commander, U.S. European Command and
Supreme Allied Commander, Europe
Interesting, if not surprising news from SecurityNewsDaily. Also not surprisingly, the PLA has an innocent explanation:
The elite cyberwarfare unit of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is called the “Online Blue Army,” the People’s Daily Online reported. It is tasked with enhancing Chinese troops’ military training and network security, Ministry of National Defense spokesman Senior Colonel Geng Yansheng said.
Which most in the know are probably not buying:
China’s suspected participation in recent high-profile cyberattacks against, among others, Google, Morgan Stanley and DuPont, however, have security experts doubting the intentions of the PLA’s “Blue Army.”
George Smith, senior fellow at GlobalSecurity.org, told SecurityNewsDaily the creation of the elite military unit “offers a resource” for more Chinese-borne cyberattacks. Establishing a cyberwarfare military unit, Smith added, “provides a piece of convenient rationalization” for other nations to create similar teams.
Smart money also points to extensive Chinese fingerprints on North Korean network disruption efforts in South Korean and US networks.
The maritime challenge which The People’s Republic of China poses to US interests worldwide is but a portion of a great national effort on the part of the PLA and Red China’s government to gain the oft-stated goal of supremacy. Chinese intentions were spelled out a dozen years ago, in a road map that, with respect to disruption of US critical information infrastructure, the PLA has followed with remarkable fidelity.
Chinese capabilities are far in advance of what is generally acknowledged by either side. As are the resources and intellectual capital being dedicated to the effort. For all of the discussions of China’s new appreciation for Mahan, they have been downright Clausewitzian in developing their “admixture of other means”.
Update: Interesting article in the Wall Street Journal by Richard Clarke, former cybersecurity adviser and National Security Council adviser for three presidents. He makes the point about the US power grid that, before being reported by WSJ in 2009, was only talked about in hushed tones behind closed doors:
In 2009, this newspaper reported that the control systems for the U.S. electric power grid had been hacked and secret openings created so that the attacker could get back in with ease. Far from denying the story, President Obama publicly stated that “cyber intruders have probed our electrical grid.”
There is no money to steal on the electrical grid, nor is there any intelligence value that would justify cyber espionage: The only point to penetrating the grid’s controls is to counter American military superiority by threatening to damage the underpinning of the U.S. economy. Chinese military strategists have written about how in this way a nation like China could gain an equal footing with the militarily superior United States.
With all the debate about “Acts of War” in disruption of the information system realm by an enemy of America, the matter will come down to the yawning chasm between what you can believe with certitude, and what you can prove. Attribution for a “digital Pearl Harbor”, a decade-old phrase making a bit of a comeback, will not be as easy as spotting the red discs on the wings of the torpedo bombers….
Okay, this isn’t a Navy or Marine Corps-centric post. Yet, I wager it will touch a nerve or a heart string in all the zoomies and wop-wops out there who have seen a favorite airframe pass out of service. And perhaps to those Sailors who have decommissioned a ship or Marines who’ve retired a weapon system whose service life coincided with theirs.
On 17 May 2011, the United States Army officially retired the UH-1 series of helicopters, the famous “Hueys”, from the Army inventory. Among the words spoken at the event, the most moving come from CW4 Lawrence Castagneto, an Army Aviator who flew the iconic helicopter in the war for which the Huey has become symbolic.
To those in the crowd that have had the honor to fly, crew, or ride this magnificent machine in combat, we are the chosen few, the lucky ones. They understand what this aircraft means, and how hard it is for me to describe my feelings about her as a Vietnam combat pilot, for she is alive, has a life of her own, and has been a life long friend.
How do I break down in a few minutes a 42 year love affair, she is as much a part of me, and to so many others, as the blood that flows through our veins. Try to imagine all those touched over the years …by the shadow of her blades.
Other aircraft can fly overhead and some will look up and some may not; or even recognize what they see but, when a Huey flies over everyone looks up and everyone knows who she is; young or old all over the world, she connects with all. To those that rode her into combat, the sound of those blades causes our heart beat to rise, and breaths to quicken, in anticipation of seeing that beautiful machine fly overhead…
The Navy and Marine Corps continue to fly the UH-1 platform, with the aging UH-1N (HH-1N in the Navy) being replaced, in dribs and drabs, by the UH-1Y. But for the United States Army, the distinctive twin-rotor whump of the Huey that has been seen over virtually every major action of the last five decades is gone forever. Especially to men like Chief Castagneto, the sound, and the bird that made it, will not soon be forgotten.
Almost forgot: H/T to Sean C.
There are some fairly remarkable statements by Admiral Roughead reported by Danger Room in Spencer Ackermans latest article Navy Chief Dreams of Laser Warships, Ocean-Spanning Robots. The meat of the article gives us plenty to think about.
The easy part has been the Navy’s robotic planes. A long-range surveillance drone, known as BAMS, will fly above the fleet starting in 2015. A pilotless helicopter packed with sensors and cameras, Fire Scout, already tracks drug smugglers in Latin America and recently arrived in Afghanistan.
But the most important Navy drone is the X47B, a fighter plane that the Navy hopes will take off and land from an aircraft carrier by 2018. “I don’t think I’ve been as excited about anything as the unmanned carrier aircraft,” Roughead said in an interview with Danger Room. Before its first flight in February, “I was like an expectant father.”
At USNI/AFCEA West in January, Bob Work told the audience the Navy has already begun planning to deploy medium UAVs on every cruiser and destroyer. Given how few ScanEagles are currently deployed on the fleets surface combatants, that would be good news. While it is unclear if there is money for it, I’d like to see the Navy conduct a test flight of a Reaper off the deck of the LHA(R) once USS America (LHA 6) is launched, and if the LHA(R) isn’t designed to launch an armed Reaper, then I would suggest there is a serious design flaw.
Subs, on the other hand, are much harder. Roughead is thinking way beyond where the technology is: ships that patrol under water for 60 to 70 days, launched from Littoral Combat Ships or destroyers that swim as much as 7,000 miles without returning to the mothership. They’d collect intelligence, defuse mines and attack enemies, disrupting attempts to deny manned ships a piece of the ocean or the shoreline.
“What I’d like to see is [an unmanned sub] having that duration, having reconfigurable payloads — one truck with different payloads,” Roughead said, “the ability to communicate — UUVs [Unmanned Underwater Vehicles] underwater, and the UAVs, use them as relays, so the network comes into play. But on the underwater side, I’d like to see a very common truck with different payloads.” In other words, the subs might carry different sensors or weapons, but all of them should be able to travel an awfully long distance.
I read the CNO discussing two ideas conceptually with the description above. First, the future of United States Navy SSKs is that of an unmanned submarine, and second the future of the United States Navy SSGN is that of an unmanned submarine.
Finally, more future tech:
Then come the lasers and the rail guns. Directed-energy weapons — military-grade laser cannons — have been a military dream for decades, along with guns that fire their munitions with bursts of electromagnetic energy. But Roughead directed the Navy’s mad scientists at the Office of Naval Research to go full-bore into laser research. By the 2020s, they estimate, surface ships should have a range of kilowatt- and even megawatt-class lasers for their protection, burning through steel in seconds and firing bullets at hypersonic speeds.
“You’re beginning, maybe, to see the end of the dominance of the missile,” Roughead said. “There may still be some applications that come into play that you might want to use them in. But I also think you’re beginning to also see the increase in the depth of the magazine chain. In other words, the capacity’s going to change, because you essentially have a rechargeable projectile.” Advantage United States, as the rise of lasers will lead to a geostrategic division into “countries that can afford to go into directed energy and countries that can’t.”
This is one of the reasons why the DDG-51 Flight III is indeed, NOT, a no brainer and is in fact a major concern behind the scenes. The debate for surface combatants after the soon to be BMD block of DDG-51 Flight IIAs is what the Navy needs to do next, and if in fact the Navy needs to move sooner rather than later into a common surface combatant hull form that specifically meets the HM&E requirements of the future – and more specifically has the power and generator technologies to make use of emerging new weapons technology.
It is entirely possible that these emerging technologies will mature faster than the surface fleet is prepared to support them, and keep in mind the DDG-51s have legitimate power challenges in supporting these future technologies. It is entirely possible that the US Navy could be asked to fight a war at sea in 2030 against a serious challenger fielding multiple missiles, and to solve the problem, the Navy ends up strapping a laser weapon on a Virginia class submarine because those SSNs, and not the DDG-51 Flight IIIs, have enough power to support that technology. If you think I’m nuts even mentioning this scenario, then you may want to take a second look at the challenges and requirements to make these technologies work at sea as a viable weapon system.
Unlike the transition from the age of guns to the age of missiles, the transition out of the age of missiles will require more from the ship – specifically more power. There are only two ships in the US Navy being built today with the power systems and output in mind that will insure the ship is prepared for these technologies in the future, and that ship class is the DDG-1000.
Which raises the question, how far into the future is Admiral Roughead looking with his long view towards the end of the missile age, and how does that timeline square with the expected life cycle of the major surface combatants in the current Navy shipbuilding plan?
The world wonders.
Web 2.0 and social media are messy. Tweets are rarely grammatically correct. Blog posts are neither as polished nor as tight as an edited article in a newspaper or magazine that went through multiple drafts. The sheer volume of traffic and content makes the sort of editorial oversight that print media came to expect before the advent of online content impossible. The issue of control is particularly important here. A publisher has complete control over what goes into print. Even letters to the editor and op-ed articles are screened, selected and often edited so that what their readership sees is known, consistent and approved prior to publication.
Social media is the opposite of control. Anyone with internet access can have a voice. It is chaos. But it is not without its shape and form. Already, the innumerable voices on the web have mostly coalesced into a sort of white background noise. It is there, and a lot of it is inane. But even search engines are getting better at sorting through it for real and meaningful content. And ultimately, the combination of reputation, prestige and what one is interested in helps groups of participants coalesce and interact.
This blog is what it is because of those who comment, who hold everyone and everything on the blog to a higher standard, call people out when writing gets sloppy and will under no circumstances tolerate sloppy reasoning or sloppy thinking. It is also a place where those who comment bring enormous expertise to the table and enrich the discussion. It is in a very real sense a forum – a forum that the founders of this Institute may not have been able to conceive of but would probably be pretty impressed with.
And that’s the thing about Web 2.0 and social media. For the first hundred and twenty years or so of the Institute, ‘forum’ meant a print periodical. Reading and contributing to Proceedings was the limit of communication technology in terms of intellectual interaction for a large, dispersed group. But the mission of the Institute is to provide a forum and to disseminate and advance knowledge — not publish a magazine.
The Mission of the Institute is to provide an independent forum for those who dare to read, think, speak, and write in order to advance the professional, literary, and scientific understanding of sea power and other issues critical to national defense. [emphasis added]
This isn’t to knock Proceedings and it should continue to be the flagship publication of the Institute. It has earned its reputation. But a monthly periodical isn’t going to cut it as a forum in the 21st century, particularly for the very individuals that are supposed to be at the heart of the Institute’s ‘tribe’ — active, serving young Naval, Marine and Coast Guard officers and enlisted. We’re going to have to do much better and make some tough choices if we hope to live up to the spirit of the mission statement we have all so ardently defended.
The last decade has seen the most phenomenal explosion of means of interactivity. For an institution that was the product of interaction and founded explicitly to provide a forum, this should be not a time of crisis or decay but a time of enormous excitement and possibility. For the first time in the history of the Institute, the means available to fulfill the mission of providing a forum have not just grown; they have exploded.
Society and industry are still grappling with what, if anything, phenomena like Twitter might actually be useful for. This is the dawn of a new era, not one in its maturity. It should be a time of experimentation (and experimentation entails failures – the trick is designing the experiment to teach you something while not over-committing resources to it until it has proven viable) to understand which elements of this explosion might have applicability and add value to our ongoing endeavor to live up to the mission set out before us. But the success of this blog should be seen as a proof of concept and as an example of what is possible.
The Institute has limited resources, and the sacrifices employees of the Institute have made are a testament to that. But efforts to build on the success of this blog warrant more priority, focus and resources. More young, information technology and social media expertise is required to formulate experiments, identify promising avenues and push efforts forward. This will not be free (though, like the blog, much can be achieved once the right structures and oversight are in place), and will require sacrifices, compromises and some reallocation of resources.
But we are behind the curve and our young active duty membership deserves and demands better.
Our good friends at Blackfive explain this well:
The words to “Taps” are:
Day Is Done,
Gone the Sun,
From the Earth,
From the Hill,
From the Sky,
All Is Well,
God Is Nigh
When Taps is played at dusk, it has a completely different meaning than when Taps is played during the day. No soldier really wants to hear it played during daylight. For when the bugle plays Taps in the daylight…that means a soldier has fallen…There is a belief among some that Taps is the clarion call to open the gates of heaven for the fallen warrior and letting them know to “Safely Rest”…
Of course, Memorial Day is about remembering the sacrifices that our military men and women have made over the last 235 years. We are still a young nation, but one that has made many sacrifices to remain free. We should also take time to remember the families who have lost loved ones.
Who do you remember?