PROTOCOL FOR TAPS
INSTRUCTION FOR MILITARY AND CIVILIAN
One question I get often is what to do when Taps is sounded. What exactly is the protocol? In a nutshell, it’s the same protocol as when you hear the national anthem.
DEFINITION OF TAPS
Taps is sounded at funerals, memorial services and wreath laying ceremonies. It is also the last call played at US military bases in the evening. Performance consists of 24 notes sounded on a bugle or trumpet. Taps is performed by a solo bugler without accompaniment or embellishment. Although sometimes performed with an echo, Taps is really meant to be sounded by a single bugler.
For more information on the origin of Taps CLICK HERE
At funerals, military honors follow a certain sequence dictated by tradition and protocol. Three rifle volleys are fired, followed by the sounding of Taps. The flag is then folded and presented to the Next-of-Kin.
Sometimes there is not a firing party available and Taps will be sounded upon the signal from the military or funeral home director.
The sequence at Arlington National Cemetery can be found here.
At memorial services or special events Taps is usually sounded toward the end of the program, usually before the benediction or dismissal. At wreath laying ceremonies, Taps is usually sounded after the wreath (or last one if there are several) is presented.
CONDUCT DURING THE SOUNDING OF TAPS
During a rendition of Taps at a military funeral, memorial service or wreath laying ceremony,
– All present not in uniform should stand at attention with the right hand over the heart;
– Men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold the headdress at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart;
– Individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of Taps and maintain that position until the last note (note: if you are inside and uncovered, you stand at attention);
– Veterans and active-duty service-members not in uniform may render the hand salute;
– If you are inside and not in uniform it is proper to stand during Taps
– When Taps is sounded in the evening as the final call of the day at military bases, salutes are not required.
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The protocol for Taps was something we submitted to Congress when we made Taps the National Song of Remembrance.
I do not think ANYONE would deny a veteran to render a hand salute while Taps is sounded. It is a right and privilege all veterans have earned by virtue of their service.
Also I’d like to see where it says No to rendering a hand salute online
Thanks much for your service
Do you have a source for the allowing of veterans out of uniform to salute when Taps is played? Everything I find online says no, and the 2009 law only addresses the national anthem or raising/lowering of the flag. I am a vet as is my dad, who has less than two weeks to live. If my stepmom arranged for Taps to be played, I’d like to honor him with the salute he has more than earned.
Place your hand over your heart, or if you are in uniform, render a hand salute.
I’m playing taps for Veterans day next month for My Middle school and I was wondering what is the respectful thing to do after that
Taps is meant for honoring he military persons
AFPAM 34-1202 paragraph 188.8.131.52 states the playing of Taps is not part of the POW/MIA ceremony. It’s symbolic of the death of a service member and the POWs and MIAs have not been declared deceased.
However the other services do not address this
During the POW/MIA ceremony is it appropriate to play
TAPS? and is there a specific instruction that I can reference
Place hand over heart
Hello I’m performing Taps for my Middle school on the announcements on veterans day What do I do after that when I’m done to be respectful for fallen veterans
Render a hand salute after you complete Taps
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