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Morning and Evening Colors: The Bugle Calls That Ring in the Morning and Close Out The Day


Those who have served in the military often have strong memories around the bugle calls of Reveille and Taps. They are the sounds that began and ended our days. 

We heard them first in boot camp. That crisp, bright, energetic call of Reveille would snap us up out of our sleep and begin the constant motion and activity of our day, with all of the classes, the drills, the exercises, the rushed meals and the repeated further classes, drills and exercises of the rest of the busy day.   

The beginning and end of each day at West Point Military Academy is noted with a bugle call.
The beginning and end of each day at West Point Military Academy is noted with a bugle call.

This Morning Colors video is of a Reveille Call done at West Point, the US Military Academy along the Hudson River in upstate New York. It is done in that quiet moment just after the dawn, when the mist is still coming up off of the river, the morning light is still soft and cool, and the birds are just waking and singing in the dawn. This is the sound that greets the day and awakens the base to its daily studies and duties. 

Reveille is played every morning.
Reveille is played every morning.

It is the same trilling bugle call I heard at Navy Recruit Training Center, Great Lakes the first morning I was in boot camp in January of 1966 and at every base I was at after that: Newport Naval Hospital, Newport, Rhode Island to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and back at Newport Naval Hospital after my tour in Vietnam.   

To this day, it remains the most beautiful and my favorite “alarm clock” sound. There is something energetic, hopeful and purposeful in it.  

Evening colors would play at the close of the day, at around 6:00 p.m. and would bring a kind of closure, a kind of calm at the close of the day’s labors. It has a more somber quietness to it. It is a call to rest, to grow quiet and to reflect. The video in which you will hear Evening Colors played was taken on a Marine Corps base and shows children playing at the local playground. 

At night, the flag is lowered to evening colors.
At night, the flag is lowered to evening colors.

Watch what happens when those young children hear the tones of Evening Colors wafting over the base. What you will see in those children is the respect and self-discipline that reveals a maturity in them far beyond most kids their age. They may not know the deeper meanings of those bugle notes, but the awe that is behind those simple, expressive notes is understood at the most innocent of levels.  

Enjoy these videos. They are simple, but very profound in their meaning. There is much to think about beginnings and ends in them. Those tones get us to reflect on the natural borders of every day and of every life.



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