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“Taps”: The Military Bugle in History and Ceremony

“Taps.” A bugle call that beckons us to remember patriots who served our country with honor and valor. It is the most familiar of calls and one that reaches our deepest emotions. The Taps Exhibit tells the story of the famous bugle call and those surrounding it. The composition of Taps, the ceremonies in which it is used, and the stories of those who have sounded the call have a significant, but often overlooked, part of American history. Arlington National Cemetery, our Nation’s greatest shrine, honors those who have sounded the eloquent melody.

A year in the making, the unprecedented Taps Exhibit is the cumulative effort of a team of musicians, historians and advisors who have a passion for music and history. It sheds light on a significant, but overlooked, part of American history – the story behind the bugle call of Taps and the role of the military bugler. The vision for this display has come from Jari A. Villanueva, trumpeter with the Air Force Ceremonial Brass. Villanueva has procured hundreds of items, including bugles, photos, sheet music, uniforms, and a variety of other memorabilia related to the bugle and Taps. The centerpiece will be the bugle used to sound Taps at the funeral of John F. Kennedy, the nation’s 35th president. This bugle had previously been on display at the Smithsonian’s American History Museum. The exhibit is scheduled to be at the Arlington National Cemetery Visitor’s Center for three years beginning in May 1999. Updates on the Taps Exhibit may be monitored online at:

Arlington National Cemetery is located adjacent to Ft. Myer in Virginia. The Visitor's Center is located off Jefferson Davis Highway at the Memorial Bridge. It is also accessible from the Metro at the Arlington Cemetery stop.


Master Sergeant Jari Villanueva sounds Taps at the grave of John Cook,
bugler and Medal of Honor recipient. Cook received the Medal for his
actions at Antietam, Maryland and is buried in section 17 of Arlington National Cemetery.


Sergeant Jari A. Villanueva playing Taps At
Arlington National Cemetery

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