Memorial and Veterans Day Reading Comprehension

Free Teacher Resource: Printable 3rd, 4th or 5th Grade Informational Text with Interactive Review Questions. Read and test reading comprehension online or print and use offline.

What is Taps?

At every American military funeral, a tune called Taps is played on a bugle. Taps has come to be known as a very sad song linked with death. It wasn't always that way.

Taps was composed by General Daniel Butterfield in 1862 during the Civil War. He created Taps by making a few changes to an older bugle melody called Scott Tattoo.

At first Taps was used to replace an old French bugle call to signal "lights out," telling the soldiers that it was time to go to bed.

There are a few legends about how Taps came to be used for funerals. A popular one tells the story of a Civil War officer who ordered that Taps be played at the funeral of his son, a music student and a soldier killed during the war. The story says that the officer found the tune in the pocket of his son's jacket and asked that a bugler perform it to honor the officer's son's memory.

Why is it called Taps? One idea is that the word is from the Dutch word, Taptoe, which means Tattoo. Others have said that the word Taps comes from the three drum taps that were played to signal "lights out" when a bugle was not available.

Taps became an official part of the American military funeral service in 1891 and has been in use ever since.

Listen to the start of the Taps bugle call.
What instrument is used to play Taps?
bugle When was Taps composed?
1862 When did Taps become an official part of American military funerals?
1891 What is the Dutch word for Tattoo?
Taptoe Taps was composed by a young Dutch flute player.
It doesn't say in the story.
False Taps was played during the Civil War to signal
a soldier's death
time to wake up
time to go to bed
time to go to bed When a bugle wasn't available, how was "lights out" signaled to soldiers in the Civil War?
a cannon was fired
a siren
3 drum taps
3 drum taps According to the legend in the story, whose funeral was the first where Taps was played?
General Butterfield
a Civil War officer
the son of a Civil War officer
the son of a Civil War officer

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