Taps Bugler: Jari Villanueva

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“ Welcome to Tapsbugler! Helping provide Taps for Veterans at military funerals is important to us! Please contact us on information about providing a live bugler to sound Taps at the ceremony for your loved one. Just click on Find A Bugler below. Please explore the website and I hope you come away with a little more knowledge about this great American treasure we have in those 24 notes. ”

Celebrate 150 Years of Taps

Protocol for Taps

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.

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 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 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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29 Responses to “Protocol for Taps”

  1. Tapsbugler says:


  2. Steve Willis says:

    We are looking into protocol for a Memorial Day half marathon run. We anticipate starting our race with an armed forces colorguard. As it is Memorial Day run, would the playing of Taps be appropriate in that setting. It would be the start of the race.

  3. Tapsbugler says:

    Yes, it would be very appropriate to render a hand salute during Taps if you are a veteran.
    Thanks for your service

  4. Jay B. McKinney says:

    When Taps ate played at my fathers funeral Thursday would it be appropriate /suitable for me to render a hand salute? I am a U S A F Veteran?

  5. Tapsbugler says:

    They should stand
    Refer to http://tapsbugler.com/protocol-for-taps/

  6. Chris Crow says:

    In a Veteran’s Day School program, during the playing of taps, should the children stand or sit with hands over heart while the song is being played?

  7. Tapsbugler says:

    It is not appropriate to sound Taps for someone who did not serve in the military.

  8. Mary Davis says:

    Is it ok to play taps at a funeral for someone who was not in the military?

  9. Tapsbugler says:

    It is but a LIVE Taps is preferred

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