Somewhere - A poem about RetreatThe U.S. Army is built upon and steeped in traditions.  One of those long-standing traditions that we swiped long ago from our European heritage is the Bugle Call.

On every Army post I lived as a kid, at 1700 hours, the following bugle calls were played across the post PA system:

Retreat announced the end of the work day, followed immediately by a cannon shot, followed immediately by To The Color, during which the National Colors flying atop the post flag pole were lowered.

At the first note of Retreat, everyone is supposed to stand still and face the flag (at attention, if military).  At the first note of To The Colors, after the cannon blast, military are to salute, civilians should cover their heart with their right hand…or ball cap if you’re at T-Ball practice.  If driving on post, at the first note of Retreat, you’re to stop your vehicle, get out, stand, face the music, etc. until the last note of To The Colors, then get back in your car and continue as you were.

It really chaps my ass to see the amount of lazy, disrespectful people who just sit in their cars, likely only stopped because all the other traffic heading off post has stopped.  Only slightly less disrespectful, are the folks who start to head out a door, hear either of the bugle calls in progress, and decide to wait indoors rather than exit, face the flag, and render honors.  It’s really sad.

“Retreat not only has historical value, but the meaning of it, behind it and the reason we observe it are for those making sacrifices for our Army right now and throughout the years. It instills values and traditions that the Army holds.” – CSM Tod L. Glidewell**

For those who may have difficulty making out the text on the poster (pictured), I’ve transcribed it below:


a bugle softly sounds
The message of renown,
And some inside their buildings wait
Until the flag comes down.

And others run to get their cars
Quite harrowed or dismayed,
Afraid they will not reach the gate
Before retreat is played.
Not thinking of the flag or those
Who fought to keep it flying.

How many would be glad to stand,
Whose bodies anow are mute,
Or have no hand that they might raise
And stand in proud salute.

So accept it not as duty
But a privilege even more
And receive it as an honor
Instead of just a chore.

**Quote by CSM Glidewell taken from the this article on  Long-standing tradition returns to Fort Rucker

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