Skip

Last Post
December 31, 2005 1:03 PM   Subscribe

The Last Post, a military bugle call marking the end of the day, was originally sounded to call off-duty soldiers to barracks; later it was also incorporated into British and Commonwealth military funeral services (analogous to the playing of Taps for US military dead) and "symbolises that the duty of the dead is over and that they can rest in peace." It's perhaps as fitting as "Auld Lang Syne" at the close of year 2005.
posted by orthogonality (16 comments total)

 
Nice post. I did not know about the call, and I happened on this just at sunset, a pleasing coincidence. It does indeed seem appropriate for today.
posted by languagehat at 1:31 PM on December 31, 2005


Come home! Come home! The last post is sounding
for you to hear. All good soldiers know very well there
is nothing to fear while they do what is right, and forget
all the worries they have met in their duties through the
year. A soldier cannot always be great, but he can be a
gentleman and he can be a right good pal to his comrades in
his squad. So all you soldiers listen to this - Deal fair by all
and you'll never be amiss.

Be Brave! Be Just! Be Honest and True Men!

posted by caddis at 1:33 PM on December 31, 2005


God bless them every one.
posted by caddis at 1:34 PM on December 31, 2005


This is a gorgeous call.

I am reminded of my childhood. My grandparents were both Army; my grandfather a master sergeant (career) and my grandmother a civilian communications officer. I grew up accompanying them to events on post. Sometimes we'd get caught just at sunset by the bugle call (though I think it was 'Taps'). It meant that everyone on post stopped in their tracks and stood at attention while the flag was lowered. Even if you were in your car, you stopped, got out, and stoof until the call ended. I always thought it was sort of magical that everyone on post agreed to observe this ritual, which really had no counterpart in the civilian world.

Thanks.
posted by Miko at 1:38 PM on December 31, 2005


Yes, gorgeous. The linked performance recording has a very orchestral feel. I wonder how it would sound as a broadcast army call. Specifically, the controlled diminution of the longer notes, is that part original? or added with the funereal use? or just fancy playing?
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:52 PM on December 31, 2005


On further listening, the longer notes at the end feature accretion. Same questions as above.
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:34 PM on December 31, 2005


Specifically, the controlled diminution of the longer notes, is that part original? or added with the funereal use? or just fancy playing?

When I've heard good buglers and trumpeters play it, the diminution has always been there - it's part of the call.
posted by Jimbob at 3:31 PM on December 31, 2005


British Bugle Calls. More here.

I once read a book or manual devoted to them. They all have mnemonic rhymes to help with the rhythm; some of them are still well-known, eg "come to the cookhouse door boys" for this (short mp3).
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:38 PM on December 31, 2005


The Last Post is more appropriate for Remembrance Day, and I'll be damned if you Yanks are going to co-opt it.
posted by Pseudonumb at 4:08 PM on December 31, 2005


Anyone know more about the orchestral version?
posted by A189Nut at 4:47 PM on December 31, 2005


Excellent post. Thank you.
posted by etaoin at 4:59 PM on December 31, 2005


I like the Last Post, but it's very strongly associated with Remembrance Day for me (a Brit).

A similar call without that baggage is Sunset (mp3), which I think is used in the Navy and Marines, and is often played alongside the Navy's Evening Hymn [NB: music plays when page loads].

I remember listening to Sunset on the TV in my office, watching the hauling down of the British flag as Hong Kong was handed back to China.
posted by athenian at 5:26 PM on December 31, 2005


The Last Post is more appropriate for Remembrance Day, and I'll be damned if you Yanks are going to co-opt it.

You may have it, sir. It makes me want to START drinking.
posted by longsleeves at 6:15 PM on December 31, 2005


This is why I love MeFi, Thanks for the informative post.
posted by nostrada at 6:59 PM on December 31, 2005


When I was in the Army, I served for a short while as an unofficial bugler for our battalion (only while we were stationed off-post.) My 1st Sergeant woke me up at 3am once, told me to bring the bugle and get in his car, and he drove me to a secluded spot in the woods of our deployment area. He had me dig a hole with a shovel, bury his daughter's cat, and play Taps.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:20 AM on January 1, 2006


One of the most affecting things I've witnessed is the daily ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium. The history of the whole event is here.

As an Amurican the Last Post doesn't reach to me in the same fashion as Taps (go figure.. culture does play into emotions), but there I could feel it. It has the same reverence attached to it as the ceremonies at Arlington.

Standing under the gate though and looking at the seemingly endless roster of the fallen really drives home the cost.
posted by drewbage1847 at 11:01 AM on January 1, 2006


« Older The DeLay-Abramoff Money Trail   |   By my will alone I set my mind in motion... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post