Skip to page content
Return to Top

About Silver Taps

History

The Silver Taps ceremony is a tradition that was reinstated at Tarleton in 1989 by the Junior Cadet Staff Sergeant, Tom Hughes. By reinstating the ceremony Hughes would hopefully show that the Corp supports every student and teacher at Tarleton. “We love Tarleton!  This is our way of showing our peers that we’re behind them 100 percent,” said Hughes. Since then the Silver Taps Ceremony has been a time honored tradition held every year.

Silver Taps Tradition

The flames we light, carry, and extinguish during the annual Silver Taps ceremony honor the lives of members of the Tarleton family deceased over a year’s time. “To me, this university never seems any more like family than this evening, when we gather for the traditional Silver Taps Ceremony.” Dr. F. Dominic Dottavio, April 14, 2016

The Flame

Historically, and certainly here at Tarleton, the flame has long been a symbol of knowledge, marking the beginning of a journey to become educated men and women. Students begin their official academic program marked by the Freshman Convocation and Candle Lighting Ceremony when they receive their Tarleton flame. The flame sheds light on future endeavors and achievements. Scores of students participate every year in the Silver Taps Ceremony where they carry and extinguish a flame to honor and respect a deceased member of the Tarleton family.

The Ceremony

The Silver Taps Ceremony is a tribute held each spring to honor our faculty, staff, students, alumni and supportive friends deceased during the previous year. This is a cooperative ceremony sponsored the Tarleton Ambassadors, Texan Corps of Cadets, Department of Military Science, Tarleton Alumni Association, and The Division of Institutional Advancement. The ceremony includes reading of the honor roll, prayers, a processional, Taps, and a 21-gun salute. The Tarleton Flags located on the campus are placed at half-staff for the day of the ceremony.

The Honor Roll

The Coordinator of the annual Silver Taps Ceremony and volunteers gather names for the honor roll on a weekly basis all year. Several online search engines are utilized to find obituaries that mention Tarleton. Public records are used to find addresses when survivors’ cities of residence are included. An invitation to the ceremony is mailed to families about one month prior to the ceremony.

The Volunteer Candle Bearers

Volunteers arrive by 6:45 p.m. for rehearsal. Volunteers wishing to carry a candle for a specific name may email sgoodman@tarleton.edu or call 254-968-9330 ahead of time so that a notation can be given to the ushers. After a brief rehearsal at 6:45 p.m., the Tarleton Alumni Association hosts a reception at 7:00 p.m. The ceremony begins promptly at 7:30 p.m. It lasts approximately one hour. Candle bearers stand the entire time of the ceremony. Comfortable shoes for walking and standing in the grass are recommended. For this somber and reverent ceremony, participants are encouraged to dress in appropriate business attire.

As names are announced from the roll call, each volunteer receives a lighted candle to carry during the ceremony. Candle bearers process to stand in formation until all names are honored. The ceremony includes taps played by students with trumpets, and a 21-gun salute that echoes through the campus. Candle bearers are invited to extinguish the flame they carry when they hear these words, “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.”

The Families of Honorees

Everyone is invited to the Tarleton Alumni Association Reception. Families of honorees are welcome to carry a candle and participate according to their comfort level. There is one candle per honoree. Additional family members are welcome to walk in the ceremony accompanying their family’s candle bearer. There is no need for honorees’ families to participate in the rehearsal. The Tarleton Ambassadors and Cadets will guide families before the ceremony.