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Memorial Day: Do You Know the Origin of ‘Taps’?

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This (and every) Memorial Day we honor the ultimate sacrifice made my so many American men and women dating back more than two centuries. And in many of these moments of tribute, ‘Taps’ will be played to honor the memory of our nation’s fallen. But do you know the origin of this iconic musical piece?

The music is actually Italian, composed by trumpet player Nini Rosso and Guglielmo Brezza, and was a commission of the Dutch government in 1965. It was first performed in a 20th Anniversary celebration of the liberation of the Netherlands during World War II. It is the origin of Il Silenzio which is deeply moving salute to self-sacrifice, one befitting the Memorial Day observances of Americans.

Near the Dutch city of Maastricht there is a cemetery where over 8,000 American soldiers are buried. They died in battle in late 1944 and early ’45 fighting to free Holand from Nazi occupation. Every year, on ‘Liberation Day’, a memorial service is held to honor the men who died to liberate the Netherlands. The day concludes with a concert, at which “Il Silenzio” has always been the concluding piece.

The Dutch realize, as do we, that these brave men – and millions of others through our nation’s history – are owed a debt that we can never begin to repay.


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