Saturday, March 25, 2017

Taps...Day Is Done...Safely Rest ... God Is Nigh

A visit to Frontier Forts of Texas ... With God

There are 24 Military Bugle Calls. A few are outdated to an earlier time before technology rendered them un- necessary. But, on any Army or Marine base, many of them are still in order and used regularly. A few of them are Reveille, Mess Call, Church Call, Sick Call, Fire Call and Taps. Bugle calls are a part of military service which still carry the ageless spell of the military atmosphere. I have visited many of the historic, old military Forts in Texas, dating back to the mid-1800s. There are few things I enjoy more than, in the spring, walking over those hallowed grounds, the old, often restored, barracks, stables, bakeries, and armories. These are not the stockade type forts with tree trunks standing upright encircling the fort, but wide open, usually on high ground with a Texas breeze blowing through them. Of the 50 or so forts that were in Texas, protecting the settlers from Indians, Mexican bandits, and the Stage Coach routes west, my favorites are Fort McKavett, Fort Davis, Fort Concho, Fort Stockton and Fort Phantom hill, in that order. All of these Frontier Forts were West of the early settlements, out in Indian country. I have often stood on the parade field of one of these old forts feeling the mystique of the Frontier fort, or near the barracks', rifle racks smelling the distinct aroma of cosmoline, or in the mess hall... the thirsty smell of well water and of lie soap, or at the bakery with the smell of fresh bread, or the stables where the smell of leather, hay, and horses wafts through the air. And, always, hearing, as clearly as it would have been 175 years ago, the company bugler blowing taps over a fresh grave in the post cemetery.... or at the last call of the day, as the post lamps and lanterns were blown out and sun-browned, raw-boned soldiers took their rest as Taps died out on the cool, dry air of a Texas evening.

Those experiences always leave me with a deep feeling and almost longing emotion to have lived in those early days of Texas. I sometimes feel I was born 150 years too late to have lived in my natural generation. But God had other plans for me... and He is always right.

The tune to Taps carries with it these fitting words....
Day is done, gone the sun, From the lake, from the hills, from the sky; All is well, safely rest, God is nigh. Fading light, dims the sight, And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright. From afar, drawing nigh, falls the night. Thanks and praise, for our days, 'Neath the sun, 'neath the stars, neath the sky; As we go, this we know, God is nigh. Sun has set, shadows come, Time has fled, Scouts must go to their beds Always true to the promise that they made. While the light fades from sight, And the stars gleaming rays softly send, To thy hands we our souls, Lord, commend.