It was July in Virginia.
The scent of the dogwood and the laurel lay heavy on
While the burgeoning fruit of the peach and the apple
Marked the full sway of summer.
For seven fateful days, the trees, the flowers...
Yes, the very ground itself...
Had shuddered under the roar of cannon...
The bark of howitzers...and the crackling of a legion
Now, all was silent.
The sledgehammer blows of Robert E. Lee and "Stonewall"
Had mauled the Army of the Potomac...
And yet that army was not destroyed.
Seven thousand men had fallen in that dreadful
week...and the savagery of the conflict
Was grimly evident in the river of wounded...that wound
through the gree hills.
Now, a new sound drifted in the soft evening sky.
For Colonel Dan Butterfield, a courageous and able
Was also a man of music.
To honor his fallen comrades, he had composed a simple
and heartrending melody.
On July second, in the year 1862,
Its strains floated over the graves that scarred the
dark Virginia earth.
It has been more than a hundred years since that sound
but these notes have never died away.
Every night of the year, throughout the world, fighting
men of America,
From the North and the south, the East and the West,
Close their eyes in sleep to its call.
And in each of their hearts...there glows a fierce
surge of pride.
"Fading light...falling night...
Trumpet calls as the sun sinks in flight.
Sleep in peace, comrades dear...
God is near."