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Archive for October 3rd, 2007

Taps

I went to a funeral yesterday with Mom, Big Sis, and my aunt. Sorry to say that one of my father’s oldest friends died a little while ago. “Uncle” Bill was my dad’s friend when Dad first dated Mom. Story goes – he was the friend enlisted to keep my aunt company so my dad could make the moves on Mom. He celebrated their wedding and stood by my dad’s side. I remember visiting him and his family when I was a kid – shivering in the pool with Big Sis and Uncle Bill’s two sons waiting for pictures to be taken, playing my first computer games on their Atari computer, learning how to play Chinese jump rope before it became popular on my own playground back home.

Last time Mom and I had dinner with him late last year, mom mentioned how much weight Uncle Bill had lost. That was when we realized he was waging his own cancer battle, just a few months after Dad’s death. Though – come to think of it, it probably started when Dad was still alive. But a battle against pancreatic cancer is tough to fight, and it was not to be won. But standing at the funeral, listening to his son and his friends speak, it sounded like Uncle Bill kept his spirits lifted and his outlook real during the last few months.

Uncle Bill was a veteran, and they played Taps at the funeral service. Every time I hear it, I think of my own uncle’s funeral – my dad’s brother who died a few years ago. It was a strikingly poignant moment in his funeral – to hear that lonely trumpet call. To hear the somber notes. To know that, truly, my uncle’s long day was done. And it just seemed so respectful, to me. To hear it. Don’t know why. But man, did that strike a weeping chord in me.

Wikipedia says that there are no official lyrics to Taps. But here is the most common form of the lyrics that have been used over the years. Farewell, Uncle Bill.

Fading light dims the sight
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright
From afar drawing nigh,
Falls the night.Day is done, gone the sun
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky
All is well, safely rest;
God is nigh.

Then goodnight, peaceful night;
Till the light of the dawn shineth bright.
God is near, do not fear,
Friend, goodnight.

 

 

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