GOOD QUESTION: Why can I hear “taps” being played every night in North Charleston?


NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) – This week’s Good Question comes from John who says “Every night I hear “Taps” being played on a trumpet at 10:00 p.m. Can you tell me where that is coming from?”

We went to the source to find out.

If you live anywhere within earshot of the Naval Weapons Station or the Air Force Base, which makes up Joint Base Charleston, you may hear this in the morning – the sound of trumpets calling into the air.

Reveille at 7:00 a.m. “That is to signify the beginning of the duty day,” said Sr. Airman Taylor Sams of Joint Base Charleston.

Retreat at 4:30 p.m. “That is to signify the end of the duty day,” she said.

And taps being played at 10:00 p.m. each night. Like clockwork, you can set your watch to it.

“Taps has actually been around since the Civil War, and Reveille and retreat since the Revolutionary War,” she explained.

Sr. Airman Sams providing the history, she talked about the honor and tradition behind these songs and why they are important.

“Whenever we hear it—it doesn’t mean the start of duty day or end, it gives us time to reflect and honor our flag, to honor those who have fallen before us and just honor the country and Air Force in general.”

There isn’t an actual person playing the bugle, what you are hearing comes out of an automated system – and it’s played on bases across the country.

But, if you are on base and a member of the military…

“The cars will stop and will listen to the three songs,” she said. “If you are outside you will stop. If you are in uniform and hear the National Anthem, you will salute the flag. If you are not near a flag, then you will salute in the direction where the music is coming from.”

Reveille, retreat, and taps played Monday through Friday, but no on bases overseas.

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