View from the Bridge Wing – As we recently observed Veterans Day, it’s interesting to note that there are certain rituals associated with military service whose origins even we as veterans may not have fully understood.
Taps. Prior to the bugle call, Taps was a drum beat at the Union Army funeral service accompanied by three volleys from rifles. During the Civil War a bugle call, known as “extinguish lights”, was changed so it would replace the three volleys and drum, mainly because the volleys could be mistaken by the Confederate troops as aggressive fire. It was probably called Taps because it replaced the tap tap tap of the drum. It is played to mark the end of the duty day in the military as the flag is lowered on the base flag pole.
History of three volleys. In medieval times, warriors showed peaceful intent by putting weapons in a position that could do no harm. Firing a cannon in a safe direction rendered it ineffective until it could be reloaded. Ships would fire a single shot from each cannon, while shore batteries would fire three. The original history comes from the Roman era. At the end of the day of battle when the field of battle was cleared, if the soldier removing the slain soldier knew the name of the soldier, then they would call his name three times into the night as a form of remembering their sacrifice. Romans would also throw three handfuls of dirt on the body of a fallen warrior.
Later, when firearms came into use in battle, three volleys were fired after both sides finished clearing their dead from the battlefield. This became the tradition of “firing three volleys over the deceased”. Don’t confuse the firing of three volleys with a 21 gun salute. They are not the same thing.
21-Gun Salute. A 21-gun salute is the most commonly recognized of the customary gun salutes that are performed by the firing of cannons or artillery as a military honor. It is reserved for the most honored in our nation, such as the funeral of a head of state or a Medal of Honor recipient.
Nowadays, when we have a funeral for a Veteran, we combine several of these traditions. First, we ceremonially fold the American Flag that is draped over the casket. Then, we fire three volleys. The three rifle volley consists of no less than three and no more than seven rifles firing three volleys in memory of the fallen. If there are seven rifles firing three volleys, there are 21 shots but that is not a 21-gun salute.
We will generally aim up at a 45 degree angle, aiming above the grave. After the volleys, all military and Veterans will render the military salute and Taps is played. Finally, the flag will be folded and presented to the next of kin…spouse if they are surviving, or the oldest child, or whoever the family designates.
Taps, the volleys, the funeral ritual, and folding the flag for the family is a time-honored tradition of the U.S. Military. Any Honorably Discharged Veteran is entitled to this service. If the branch of service they belonged to is unable to do it, it will be the local Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, or other Veterans’ service organization that renders the honors.
Nominee for Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Executive Committee – Col Pete Wilkinson has been selected as the MOAA Ohio Council of Chapters’ nominee to fill a seat on the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Executive Committee. It is an honor to have the Ohio Council’s nominee come from our Chapter.
The MOAA Ohio Council as a veterans organization previously has not held one of the 13 voting positions on this Executive Committee. (Lt Col Victor Wilson of our Chapter is on this committee but not as a MOAA representative, rather via his Ohio National Guard affiliation.) One position on the committee is for an at-large group that until now has been allocated to another specific veterans organization. However, this year the Executive Committee decided to offer other veterans groups a chance to hold that position.
The OVHOF Executive Committee will fill this position through a competitive process, after reviewing qualification write-ups. Col Wilkinson is an OVHOF member (one of five in the Central Ohio Chapter) and has a strong background for consideration. We hope that he will be the one picked for the OVHOF Executive Committee.
Nominating Committee – This is the time of year when a Nominating Committee appointed by the Board of Directors identifies and presents the names of the best candidates to fill the officer positions for the coming calendar year. The elected positions are President, 1st Vice President – Membership, 2nd Vice President – Programs, Secretary, and Treasurer. Those elected offices are generally for a one-year commitment although the President has traditionally served for two consecutive years.
Our By-Laws state that “The committee shall notify the secretary in writing (or email), at least 30 days before the annual meeting, of its proposed slate of officers and directors for the next calendar year, and the secretary shall list in the chapter’s newsletter the nominated candidates for the elected offices or email a copy thereof to each regular member at least 20 days before the annual meeting.” Also, “Each elected officer/director shall take office at the first regular or special meeting in the calendar year following election and shall serve for a term of one year or, if elected biennially, for a two-year term.”
Our annual business meeting will be the January 12 luncheon.
What’s on Your Mind – Please let me know what’s on your mind. If you have any concerns about our Chapter or suggestions to improve what we do, get in touch and I’ll make certain we consider your suggestions and try to correct any problem. Call me at cell phone 614-783-2315 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming Events – All are Welcome
Board of Directors meeting at noon on Wednesday, December 6 at DSCC (Building 11, Section 9, Room TBD).
Holiday Party at noon on Friday, December 8 at the 94th Aero Squadron, 5030 Sawyer Rd. (off Hamilton Rd. next to the Airport).
Quarterly MOAA Ohio Council meeting at 10:00 on Saturday, January 27 at DSCC (Building 11, Section 9, Rooms 921/922).