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The history of 'Last Post'
"Last Post" is a bugle call used at Commonwealth military funerals and ceremonies commemorating those who have fallen in war.
"Last Post" was originally a bugle call used in British Army camps to signal the end of the day. The name derives from the practice of inspecting all the sentry posts around such a camp at the end of the day, and playing a bugle call at each of them. The "last post" was thus the last point of this inspection, and the bugle call signalling that this post had been inspected marked the end of the military day.
This custom dates from at least the 17th century, and originated with British troops stationed in The Netherlands, where it drew on an older Dutch custom, called Taptoe. The Taptoe was also used to signal the end of the day, but has more prosaic origin. Taptoe originated signalling the moment that beer barrels had to be shut, hence that the day had ended. It comes from the Dutch phrase Doe den tap toe, meaning "Turn the tap off": however the Dutch "Taptoe" bugle call Taptoesignaal, now used for remembrance events, is not the same tune as the Last Post. Neither Last Post nor Taptoesignaal is to be confused with the US call "Taps", which has a similar function but different tune and origin.
During the 19th century, "Last Post" was also carried to the various countries of the British Empire . In all these countries it has been incorporated into military funerals, where it is played as a final farewell, symbolising the fact that the duty of the dead soldier is over and that they can rest in peace.
"Last Post" is used in public ceremonials commemorating the war dead, particularly on Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth of Nations. In Australia and New Zealand it is also played on ANZAC Day.
We Will Remember Them
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They shall not grow old
as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them,
nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun
and in the morning
We Will Remember Them.