Introducing a new song "Taps Today" honoring the lives of our soldiers and the history and meaning of Taps. (TapsToday.org is not a non-profit website but was the website name available for the special.)
The appearance of Department of Defense images on the site does not constitute endorsement.
In a "bookends of history" significant connection, the co-writer of the song Taps Today is Gordon Magee. Gordon's great-great-grandmother was Margaret Butterfield, a cousin of General Daniel Butterfield, according to Magee family historian Bess Wellner.
While doing some work with the US Army Field Band in 2018 he thought about his family connection, was inspired to pen the original set of lyrics to Taps Today, and sent them to songwriting partner, Michael A. Curtis. The two of them made changes and Michael wrote a melody that was a perfect fit, and a perfect fit for singer, Garrett Miles.
Garrett is a former contestant on the TV show American Idol. Blind from birth, he is a gifted performer, singing in both English and Spanish.
With a desire to inspire a new generation of young people to patriotism and service to the country, Gordon and Mike set out to create the Taps Today special.
Jari Villanueva, considered the nation's foremost authority on bugle calls and particularly Taps, has graciously committed to being interviewed for this special. Our thanks to Mr. Villanueva for his support of this project and for his many years of miltary service and countless performances of Taps.
Jari Villanueva, Military Bugler, Taps for Veterans
In order to bring the message of Taps Today to television and a broad audience, we are contacting veteran friendly companies and organizations that might want to advertise via this syndicated special.
If your company or organization is interested, please contact Gordon Magee directly at 715-892-2394 or email@example.com
The TV special Taps Today will list the contact information of high quality organizations that help veterans and the families of veterans.
If you would like your organization to be listed in the special or on our website please contact Gordon Magee at 715-892-2394 or firstname.lastname@example.org Please include with your contact information what percent of your organization's budget goes to overhead and what percentage goes directly to help soldiers and their families.
On Memorial Day each year, as a little boy growing up in the 1950’s, he went with his father like many little boys of the baby-boom era, to place poppies on the graves of soldiers who were buried in the cemeteries around their small Iowa farm town.
Each Memorial Day service at these rural cemeteries began with words honoring fallen soldiers who had died serving their country. A prayer was said by the American Legion Chaplain or the Commander, and then a three-round tribute was fired off by retired soldiers who came each year to pay their respects to their fellow comrades.
The services ended meaningfully and quietly each time with a bugler playing Taps. The sound of Taps resonated in this little boy’s mind and heart as it echoed over the cemeteries. Patriotism welled up in his heart from these experiences. It came naturally, because for nearly fifty years either his father or his brother was the commander of the American Legion post in that little Iowa town and led those Memorial Day services, commanding the soldiers who fired off the volleys.
Imagine how excited the family was some years later when they discovered from the research one of the extended family did, that General Daniel Butterfield, the composer of Taps, was a relative. The little boy’s great-great-grandmother was Butterfield herself. The boy’s Dad loved learning that connection and the newspaper wrote a story about it.
Years passed and the little boy grew up and moved with his family to Canada for a time. But when he would come home from work he would enter the door imitating Paul Harvey and say, “Hello Americans!” He wanted his children to know that though they were living elsewhere, they were Americans to the core.
After seven years out of the country the family moved back to the United States. It was a hot summer in 1989 and the first place he took his wife and three girls was to Keokuk, Iowa to visit the National Cemetery there, the only one in the state. Keokuk was where his maternal grandparents lived, so it would give the kids an opportunity to see where their grandmother grew up, but the key stop was the national cemetery.
Because it was so hot and muggy on the August day of their arrival in Keokuk, the kids stayed in the van in the air-conditioning while their father walked among the graves of fallen soldiers. He was far enough away that they couldn’t see the tears streaming down his face as he stopped at grave after grave. He took quite a bit of time doing so and his kids no doubt wondered what took so long. He took so long because he felt a sense of obligation to say thank you. Finally he made his way back to the van and they drove on.
Years later his middle daughter said, “Dad, when we moved back to the States, I didn’t understand why you went to that cemetery. But now I do.” She understood the rich blessing inherited from those who sacrificed all for our freedom. Patriotism had been passed on to a new generation.
Even more years later that little boy, now in his 60’s had the opportunity to do some work as a civilian for the US Army Field Band. In the course of doing that work, the subject of Taps came up, and he shared his family connection to the songwriter General Butterfield. As he thought more about that connection, he wrote down lyrics for a song about Taps that could honor for a new generation, the soldiers who bought our freedom with their blood. He sent them to a friend who was a songwriter and between the two of them, they shaped the lyrics, added others that came from his friend and recorded Taps Today.
How interesting to have a relative of General Daniel Butterfield help write a song about Taps. It is bookends of history in the making, as the song came out better than he could have hoped for, through the help of his song-writing friend who also produced the recording. It felt epic.
If not epic to others, it was epic to that little boy. I know because I am that little boy, Gordon Magee, and my song-writing friend is Michael A. Curtis. We think there is a story told in the song itself that will honor soldiers who served and gave their all for this country and that the story behind the story is helpful in doing so too. So to that end, I’ve shared the background for how the song came about.
We hope people will enjoy Taps Today, both the song and the TV special, and that they stir up a sense of gratitude for those who have gone before us, and move a new generation of young people to be filled with patriotism and love of country.
So here’s to all the ones, folded flags placed in their laps, and all who stand resolute while the bugler plays Taps.
If you are interested in becoming an advertising sponsor of the Taps Today TV Special call us at the number above or email email@example.com