By Nicolette Howe—
Silver Taps is a treasured tradition of Tarleton State University, reinstated in 1989 to represent a never-ending bond between a person and the Tarleton community. The annual ceremony was held on Monday, April 23. The Tarleton community gathered at the Alumni Island surrounding the John Tarleton statue to remember and honor members of the Tarleton family who have died during the previous school year.
This year’s ceremony was presented by the Tarleton Ambassadors, the Texan Corps of Cadets, the Division of Institutional Advancement and the Tarleton Alumni Association (TAA). The official party speakers consisted of President Dominic Dottavio, Ken Dorris, TAA president class of 1980, Lt. Col. John Kerby class of 2000 and student body president Mason Barker.
The ceremony began with the posting of colors presented by the Cadet color guard, as Dottavio delivered touching words of remembrance. He highlighted the lives of the students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends who exemplified Tarleton’s core values by bringing them to life. His speech continued to further explain the significance of the candles and the extinguished flames.
“Families are like a branch on a tree, we grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one and in this case our Tarleton roots,” said Kerby. His speech illustrated the family bond built between the university and everyone who calls it home.
After Kerby’s speech, a Tarleton Corps of Cadets escort brought Tarleton’s flame to Alumni Island where representatives of the deceased and volunteers carried a lit candle and assembled around the John Tarleton statue.
Following the prayer of remembrance given by Cadet Gabrielle Howes, the laying of the wreath was placed at the base of the statue by Dottavio, Dorris and Barker. While the wreath was placed Cadet Blessing Inyang recited the “Founder’s Song”, written in 1902.
The Tarleton choir began to sing the Tarleton color song as Cadets escort the flame from the statue to the military memorial in Heritage Park. After the military memorial, the Honor Guard delivered a 21-gun salute and the Tarleton trumpet ensemble played “Silver Taps” as a tribute to the Tarleton military veterans.
The ceremony concluded with all candles and flames being extinguished while these following words were read:
“You are the sons and daughters of Tarleton. Your flame has burned long and well with those of this great brotherhood and sisterhood, tonight we remember and lay your flame to rest.”